A high school student takes a drill gun for a spin on sheet wall provided by Harris Construction to help students learn some basic and fundamental construction skills in this May 2019 file photo.

published on September 13, 2021 - 4:48 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Mayor Jerry Dyer has vetoed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) approved by the Fresno City Council last week, saying that the agreement does not prioritize local hiring and businesses and would not help to broaden the City’s labor pool.

The agreement would have applied to all public works improvement projects with a cost of more than $1 million within Fresno city limits.

The PLA with the Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Building and Construction Trades Council aims to develop qualified workers in construction trades, especially those in underrepresented groups and requires employment of local, economically disadvantaged apprentices, as well as veterans, women and minorities, according to proponents.

“As a dues-paying member of public sector unions for the past 41 years, I do recognize that a Project Labor Agreement, if done correctly, can be beneficial,” Dyer said.  “I would support the PLA if it could be modified to prioritize local hiring and local businesses.”

Union members make up less than 13% of the U.S. construction workforce, meaning a majority Fresno’s construction workers would be negatively affected by this PLA, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

The PLA would have only allowed union apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and non-union employees who work for non-union local contractors would be required to pay into a union pension and health benefit system, but would not receive any of those benefits.

Mayor Dyer said he would like to see exemptions for local contractors who meet the following criteria:

-be headquartered in City of Fresno

-Have its employees who work on a city project live within the city

-provide health coverage and 401k or other retirement benefits to workers on the project

-have at minimum, 20% of those assigned to the project by trade be apprentices living within the City.

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