April 22, 2016 – The State Senate has approved legislation, sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, to protect workers’ wages by requiring that employees give their consent before funds are deducted from their paychecks to promote “industry advancement programs,” that may not serve the workers’ best interests.
Employers label these deductions as benefits so that they may be credited against the legally required prevailing wage on public works projects. But sometimes industry advancement funds are used to support activities that are contrary to the interests of workers, such as efforts to reduce the very prevailing wage that the worker is paid, and to weaken health and safety standards.
Senate Bill 954 by Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) clarifies that such deductions must actually be authorized by the worker only through a collective bargaining agreement, to ensure that any funds taken from workers’ checks are truly used in the best interests of workers.
SBCTC President Robbie Hunter commented: “This bill is essential to protect construction workers on public works projects by ensuring they receive their rightfully owed wages.”
SB 954 passed the Senate by a vote of 26-12, and now moves to the Assembly.
February 11, 2016 – At the 62nd convention of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, in Sacramento February 4 and 5, 2016, the 209 delegates representing nearly 400,000 workers in 14 affiliated trades, elected officers to serve new four-year terms, adopted resolutions on issues of importance to the Trades, and reviewed newly produced Building Trades videos. Here are summaries of those actions.
Elected to new four-year terms were three incumbents:
Robbie Hunter, President;
Tom Baca, Secretary-Treasurer;
Greg Feere, Northern California Vice-President.
Newly elected as Southern California Vice-President was Ron Sikorski, Business Manager of Operating Engineers Local 12.
The following resolutions were adopted:
Opposethe “No Blank Checks” measure, which is designed to hinder state and local governments from funding projects;
Supporta minimum wage level of $15 per hour for all workers, indexed for inflation;
Support the Kindergarten through Community College Public Education Bond Act, to fund education infrastructure;
Supportvoter approval of the Medi-Cal Funding and Accountability Act of 2014, to protect services for children and seniors, enabling California to receive federal matching funds.
All of the videos shown at the convention are available on our website (http://www.sbctc.org/doc.asp?id=4625). These include the story of the Labor Mural, the “roll-in” history of the past four years, and the new version of Right the First time, about the prevailing wage. We are currently making DVDs of Right the First Time, available for mass distribution. We will inform you when those are available.