On June 5, voters will decide whether the City of San Diego will be banned from using union-friendly Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) – the ballot measure Prop A.
The agreements were used for the construction of large projects such as Petco Park. The city isn’t currently required to use PLAs when it bids out construction jobs.
However, Prop. A would keep them from being available for use in the future, and would prohibit contractors from entering into a PLA as a condition for hiring workers.
With PLAs, all worker negotiations are figured out before construction begins. Workers are typically hired through unions.
Though the issue primarily deals with the construction industry, implementing the measure would cost the city about $450,000 per year, plus a $500,000 set-up cost, according to an independent fiscal impact analysis.
Still undecided? Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of Prop A:
YES ON PROP A: The measure's backers say the ban would discriminate and drive up building costs. Supporters, such as the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, say PLAs “force someone who wants to work on a taxpayer-funded construction project to become a union member.”
Also, the measure would require the city to post construction projects online – that’s where the projected costs come from. But proponents say this will provide much-needed transparency.
NO ON PROP A: Opponents say skilled, organized labor would be barred from competing for city projects. They say this would result in workers not having health insurance, which would end up being an expense for taxpayers when those uninsured workers get injured.
Opponents also say the proposition is redundant, since San Diego County doesn't typically use the agreements in the first place.
“They’ve created this boogie man that doesn’t exist,” said former City Councilwoman Donna Frye on a recent episode of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking.
The recently approved California Senate Bill 829 also adds a new twist to the Prop A debate. The city may lose state funding if Prop A is approved, since Senate Bill 829 denies funding for cities with PLA bans.
Lani Lutar with the San Diego County Taxpayers Association called the bill a “scare tactic by labor unions in Sacramento.”
“They want to take control away from local government and have everyone believe that these dollars will be lost,” Lutar said on a recent episode of Politically Speaking. “But in fact that’s not true because this isn’t a ban on PLAs. This is a ban on mandating PLAs by the city council.”
Frye said on Politically Speaking the issue will hurt taxpayers by putting at risk the state construction funds.
The proposition requires 50 percent plus one votes to pass.
For the San Diego Registrar of Voters' complete list of all the propostions on the June 5 ballot, click here.
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