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Statement: “First we have this story from [voiceofsandiego.org] trying their best to confuse the issue, but also having to admit that the number is correct. … The second item comes to us from the local NBC affiliate who also checked the claim that [more than 80 percent] of the construction workforce is union-free. They agreed it’s true,” the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, an opponent of project labor agreements, said in its March 2 e-mail newsletter.
Analysis: We published a Fact Check last week on a statistic often mentioned in the debate over project labor agreements, which are pre-hire agreements used by government for some public works contracts.
We called it “barely true” that 80 percent of San Diego County’s construction workers are not union members. A national survey supports the estimate, but no one has collected hard data on union membership among construction workers in the county.
The absence of local hard data presented serious doubt of the statistic’s accuracy. It fit a “barely true” statement, which has an element of truth but is missing critical context.
Some local PLA opponents seized our rating as an opportunity to reaffirm their own use of the 80 percent estimate. The statement above, including passages from a newsletter created by the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, said we called the statistic “correct.” It also said NBC 7/39 called the statistic “true.”
Both of the organization’s assertions about our rating, however, are misleading.
The Fact Check Blog story and Fact Check TV, reported by voiceofsandiego.org, clearly called the statistic “barely true.” By misrepresenting our rating of the statistic as “true,” the organization made it appear like we support the statistic’s use. Again, we have serious doubts about its accuracy when talking about construction workers in San Diego County.
If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.
You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. What claim should we explore next?
— KEEGAN KYLE