SD inks union construction pact
The city of San Diego on Wednesday reached a major deal for local construction unions, agreeing to a seven-year project labor agreement, or PLA, on all city work exceeding $5 million for the next two years and more than $1 million for the following five years.
State of play: The agreement among the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council stipulates wages and benefits for workers and guarantees sufficient labor to complete projects, while requiring contractors to hire through union halls.
Between the lines: Those deals illustrate the dramatic remaking of union politics in San Diego in more than a decade.
- In 2012, voters passed a ballot measure prohibiting the city from requiring PLAs on public works, following passage of similar bans around the county.
- In 2022, city voters passed a ballot measure rescinding that ban, making way for the agreement the City Council approved Wednesday.
Why it matters: Advocates say unions are a needed proponent of worker rights and compensation, while critics suggest they throttle progress in the workplace.
Zoom in: In California, 15.4% of workers were members of a union in 2023, a slight dip from the previous year, per the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The state has one of the nation's highest shares of unionized workers.
By the numbers: California also leads in the share of workers represented by unions at 16.9%.
- 16,349,000 are employed.
- 2,514,000 employed workers are union members.
- 2,769,000 employed workers are represented by unions.
Zoom out: The slight drop in union membership came during a year of significant action for Big Labor that included:
- The UAW scoring record contracts from General Motors, Ford and Stellantis after an unprecedented strike.
- The Teamsters winning concessions from UPS without a strike — although the company is now cutting jobs.
- Actors and writers unions getting new deals from Hollywood after bruising work stoppages.
- Locally, Kaiser Permanente health care workers, along with university faculty and staff at SDSU and UC San Diego, reaching deals with their employers after striking.
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