Statement: “If passed, the new ban would have no new effect on how the county contracts,” the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council wrote Friday about Supervisor Bill Horn’s proposed ballot measure to ban project labor agreements.
Determination: Mostly True
Analysis: Supervisor Bill Horn wants the Board of Supervisors to spend $100,000 on a ballot measure this November that would reaffirm how the county currently contracts public works projects. The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting.
In March, the supervisors banned the use of project labor agreements through an ordinance by unanimous vote. Horn wanted the board to spend the money and put the decision on the June ballot for voters to decide, but none of his colleagues supported the idea at the time.
“The cost is a concern,” Supervisor Greg Cox said at the Feb. 23 board meeting. “It’s not a significant thing, but $100,000 can be spent in a lot of ways.”
Supervisor Ron Roberts said he couldn’t justify spending $100,000 on an issue that the board never encountered. All five supervisors oppose project labor agreements and had never used them.
“This has not been an issue for the Board of Supervisors,” Roberts added. “I think this is a bad time for us to intervene because school districts or others are struggling with these issues.”
A project labor agreement is generally a pact between labor unions and a government entity whereby the government promises workplace benefits on a project in exchange for a union’s promise to prevent strikes. The San Diego Unified School District is currently using one for its $2.1 billion building and technology initiative and Chula Vista voters banned them at the June primary.
Horn is the board’s most vocal opponent of project labor agreements. He will be facing a runoff election this November to keep his longtime seat.
In a written statement, Horn said he wants a voter-approved ban to make the supervisor’s ordinance harder to overturn in the future. As an ordinance, the ban could be overturned by three supervisors. If approved by voters, it would have to be overturned by voters.
The San Diego-Imperial Labor Council supports project labor agreements and advocated against putting the ban on the ballot the last time around.
We’ve called the Labor Council’s statement mostly true because there’s one important nuance to consider: The ballot measure would not change how the county contracts, but it would change the process to change policies in the future.
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— KEEGAN KYLE