State funding to cities with blanket bans against Project Labor Agreements blocked
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure, S.B. 829, clarifying a law that took effect in January: S.B. 922. Now under the new law, all municipalities, including charter cities (which are not governed by general law provisions under the state constitution) are blocked from receiving state funds for local projects if they enact a blanket ban on the use of project labor agreements (“PLAs”).
A PLA is a contract that defines terms of employment and working conditions on a specific construction project before it begins. It is binding on all contractors and subcontractors bidding on a specific project, regardless of whether such contractors traditionally use non-union workers, who typically are paid at a lower rate (PLAs usually contain a stipulation to pay “prevailing wage,” a pay rate commonly associated with union work).
S.B. 829 applies to Fresno, Oceanside and Chula Vista, which are charter cities that have adopted ordinances restricting use of PLAs on city projects.
S.B. 829 also applies to San Diego, which has a measure on the June ballot, Proposition A, the “Fair and Open Competition + City Contracts Online” initiative, which seeks to implement a PLA ban.