Here in Santa Rosa, in an era when small cities often have none, I’m pleased we have a decent local newspaper, the Press Democrat. I usually agree with their editorials, and when I don’t I write a letter to the editor. Here’s my latest.
You came out on the wrong side of project labor agreements in your October 12 editorial. Yes, our tax money is being used to build community structures we all will enjoy. But it seems to me you are promoting union busting and lower wages for the construction workers who build our public spaces. A PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.
One difference between union and nonunion construction is training. My career as a union construction worker has allowed me to live a middle class life. In my union, apprentices must graduate from a five-year apprenticeship program to work as journey-level workers.
How do nonunion construction workers learn their trades? You may not know that (free) union apprenticeship programs–certified by the state and run by both unions and industry–teach workers necessary skills.
Building trades are skilled trades. When contractors employ unskilled workers to do skilled work they take the chance of mistakes that could cost lives down the line.
Let’s not scapegoat workers in the race for bigger contractor profits.