Another Win for Workers, Defeat for ABC and the League of Cities!

August 28, 2013 - Governor Brown Signs Our Bill to Reform Charter City Elections.  Governor Jerry Brown announced today that he has signed State Building and Construction Trades Council (SBCTC) sponsored Senate Bill 311 into law. This bill by Senator Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, was designed to increase local voter participation in elections to convert general law cities to charter cities, by requiring that the charter measure be placed on the ballot in a November general election.

This requirement is a key protection for workers’ wages, because it makes it more difficult for anti-union groups such as the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) to convert general law cities to charter cities for the purpose of avoiding prevailing wage. To maximize their chances of victory, they often arrange for the conversion measures to be decided in elections with low turnouts, increasing the likelihood that a small number of organized anti-worker votes can prevail.  The bill was heavily opposed by ABC and the California League of Cities.

SBCTC President Robbie Hunter commented: “From this time forward, if they try to convert a general law city to a charter city to avoid prevailing wage, they’ll need to do it in an election where the greatest number of people vote. It will now be a lot more costly and difficult for them to rob workers of their wages this way.”

This good news comes just one day after Governor Brown signed another SBCTC-sponsored bill to protect prevailing wage, SB 776, to stop the ABC’s dishonest practice of using workers’ wages to fund sham labor compliance committees that actually work against workers’ best interests.

Thanks go to the Governor, to Senator Padilla, to all the legislators who voted for the bill, and to all councils, affiliates and workers who offered support for this important legislation.



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