Elk Grove poised to approve community workforce agreement with construction unions

Photo by Thirdman. | 

After a four-plus-year process, the Elk Grove City Council will consider entering into a five-year community workforce and training agreement (CWTA) at their Wednesday meeting. If approved, the deal is with the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council (SSBCTC), the AFL-CIO Council, and its member unions.

According to the staff report, the process started in May 2018 and has involved extensive negotiations between the city staff and stakeholders. As a result, an agreement was reached in September.

The main provisions of the CWTA include a five-year term with no termination clause; it does not apply to maintenance work; promotes the "efficiency of construction operations" by prohibiting strikes and work stoppages, and it does not preclude non-union contractors and employees. 

As a workforce development tool, the agreement will "attempt" to prioritize hiring Elk Grove and area residents. As a goal, at least 50 percent of the journey-level and apprentice hours will be for local workers. 

If approved, the report says it would apply to 10 to 15 projects in the city's capital improvement plan over the five-year term. It would apply to projects only over $1 million. 
Although its current status is unclear, no mention is made of the possible relocation of the Sacramento Zoo to Elk Grove. 

As for fiscal implications, the report notes:

CWTA is likely to increase project contracting costs due to the work required to track, report, and verify worker and business qualifications, including local hire, veteran participation, and other targeted populations. Also, increased costs for non-union contractors who utilize core employees will result from the required employer contributions to union trust funds, which will likely increase their total bid amount. It is anticipated that projects may experience some delay in construction start while the contractor and listed subcontractors execute the CWTA.

Past and all current members of the Elk Grove City Council have received campaign donations from various construction trade unions.  

As seen in the first video below, former Elk Grove Mayor Steve ly suggested the idea during the May 19, 2018, city council meeting. During their September 12, 2018 meeting, in the second video, Ly was involved in a heated exchange with three of his four city council colleagues.

In 2018, Elk Grove City Couniclmember Darren Suen challenged Ly for mayor. Ly won that election for what was his second and final term.    

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