San Jose Mandates Union Hiring on Some Public Projects

Builders in San Jose have to hire union workers and pay living wages on public projects worth $6 million or more, according to a new policy adopted by the City Council.

The compromise measure proposed by Councilman Chappie Jones and approved in a 6-5 vote Tuesday means contractors can assign up to 35 of their own workers, but have to hire the rest from local unions. As part of the labor deals, developers will also have to pay state-set prevailing wages, provide fringe benefits and hire at least some apprentices from disadvantaged groups.

Labor-friendly councilors—namely Don Rocha, Sylvia Arenas, Sergio Jimenez and Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco—voted against Jones’ proposal because they wanted the labor agreements to lower the construction value threshold to $2 million, so it would apply to more projects. Mayor Sam Liccardo wanted to set the benchmark at $10 million.

The project labor terms set by the council Tuesday apply to only three upcoming projects. For another 17, it’s business as usual. However, the city’s new threshold far exceeds the state, which requires union hires for contracts worth $30,000 and up.

Councilman Johnny Khamis and other opponents of the labor agreements say they hurt competition and drive up the price of construction. During the contentious council hearing Tuesday—which dragged on for hours and included several failed compromise measures—Councilman Raul Peralez questioned the credibility of some research cited by Khamis, Liccardo and other critics.

Backers of the labor deals cited a peer-reviewed study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, which found that the agreements do not inflate the construction costs.

Supporters argue that these binding agreements between developers and unions prevent wage theft and help workers afford living in Silicon Valley, which is grappling with a historic affordability crisis. Several other major cities and jurisdictions, including San Francisco and Oakland, have similar policies.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

37 Comments

  1. Lets fill in the gaps in the article that this reporter failed to do. Namely, the Majority on the City Council passed a compromise ordinance that took in the considerations of BOTH Labor and Business. That MAJORITY (Liccardo, Jones, Khamis, Davis, Diep & Nguyen) listed to BOTH sides and sought a path down the MIDDLE that addressed the concerns of those affected.

  2. Atta boys council people! Always on the lookout for someone’s interests to represent as long as it isn’t the taxpayers.

      • Let’s say 1 in 10 taxpayers are union members. That means 9 out of 10 taxpayers are NOT union members. Chappie and company are giving the finger to 90% of SJ taxpayers.
        Maybe get back to me after you polish up your sentence composing skills.

  3. From each fleeced taxpayer at the mercy of the city council, to each union member according to his union affiliation based on the industrial concepts from 1930s.

  4. John Galt favors using illegals & scab workers from non-union out of state contractors. They’ll pay what ever sub-standard wages they can get away with to all of their sub-contractor’s employees ! Fortunately no one gives a damn about his opinion,because he only represents a handful of angry conservative voters in this Democratic stronghold. Just think,if they added him to the concrete when pouring the foundation for one of these buildings he’d finally become a pillar of our community. He’d be a solid citizen who actually contributed something constructive of himself for once in his life,proving it’s never too late to become an institution (hi-rise or strip mall) in San Jose. His sacrifice would be greatly appreciated & roundly applauded by his fellow citizens,both union & non-union alike. A hard man to like & a harder man once ensconced in cement,he’ll be sorely missed (nah,he wouldn’t be missed at all). John Galt your city will salute you,but only if they put a US flag on top of your roof ! You’ll be able to recognize me,I’ll be the one taking a knee !!!

    • > John Galt favors using illegals & scab workers from non-union out of state contractors.

      Waxy:

      What is a “scab” worker?

      Isn’t that a hate term?

      Where are all the church people who are horrified by “hate” and “divisiveness” and “lack of diversity” and “microagression”, not to mention virile, full-throated agression?

      Do you think your chances of going to heaven might be reduced if you just sit in your pews and let Waxy gleefully vent his hate without your so much as offering a “tut tut” or something?

      • Merriam-Webster defines SCAB as –

        a : a contemptible person
        b (1): a worker who refuses to join a labor union (2): a union member who refuses to strike or returns to work before a strike is over (3): a worker who accepts employment or replaces a union worker during a strike (4): one who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms

        Bubble Boy I’m surprised that you’re not more familiar with definition (a) as you must hear it all the time. Just because you bristle when people yell it at you doesn’t mean that it’s use is hateful. While you may hate the term & the majority of your neighbors may hate scabs,scab isn’t in & of itself a hate term. And why attempt to inflame the divinely delusional in your ill-conceived effort to redefine the word as something inherently bad,being a scab is of course a personal choice. I’d wager that scabs more than likely love other scabs. Where’s the love Bubble Boy ? While any reasonable person knows that no one is going to heaven (because it doesn’t exist),questioning the likelihood of the faithful going there based on whether or not they join your irate crusade is sacrilege to say the least. Those who read the Bible are certainly capable of reading their own dictionaries & while they may be gullible they’re not as stupid as you apparently think they are. By the way thanks for the compliment as I am virile – defined as having strength,energy,& a strong sex drive. Here’s a thought,why don’t you go out in your backyard & try howling at the moon at 3:00 AM ? If you can get enough of your neighbors dogs to join with you I’m sure you’ll finally get all the attention you so desperately need.

        • Waxy:

          I thought you were supposed to be one of the smart Democrats. I’m S-O-O-O-O disappointed.

          > a : a contemptible person

          contemptible: “deserving of or held in contempt; despicable.”
          despicable: “deserving to be despised, or regarded with distaste, disgust, or disdain;”

          Here is Waxy HIMSELF validating that “scab” is a hate term:

          > “While . . . the majority of your neighbors may hate scabs, . . .”

          Do YOU hate “scabs”, Waxy?

          Do you hate black scabs! How do we know that you don’t hate them because of their race?

          STOP THE HATE!!!!

          • You can take my words out of context to your black heart’s content Bubbles,but scab isn’t a hate word snowflake. Most people do in fact hate scabs & rightfully so. A scab is so low that he’d have to climb ten flights of stairs to kiss a snake’s ass ! And now you want to try to project your bigotry unto me by trying to make it a racial issue,you’re actually lower than a scab. Scabs are scabs,it doesn’t matter what color their skin is they’re scabs. How they’re perceived depends upon who’s doing the perceiving. You more than likely welcome them with open arms,which speaks to your character not mine.
            I do in fact dislike bigots that embrace an f you & everyone that looks like you ideology. I prefer to dislike people or groups of people on a basis of their merits or lack thereof. It’s those like yourself who have no qualms about wearing their prejudice on their sleeves like a badge of honor,that make it so much easier for me to categorize them correctly. It doesn’t take much trolling to land a big trouser trout like you,because you always swallow the bait hook,line & sinker. You’ve been hooked,gaffed,landed,weighed,scaled,gutted,filleted & mounted on a plaque once again. The only thing missing is a picture of me smiling while posing next to you proudly holding my rod. The best part is that I don’t need another stamp on my fishing license to land you & you’re always in season. Having fun,getting reel !

    • Herb Waxman wrote:

      “Fortunately no one gives a damn about his opinion”

      Well, Herb certainly gives a damn, since he wrote such a L-O-N-G off-topic, ad hominem reply. He bloviated as if he actually cares…

      …but he probably doesn’t care enough to make sure his neighborhood’s grass mowers are union members.
      But wait!—that would make them ‘scabs’, wouldn’t it?
      Nevermind.

      As J. Galt pointed out above, the taxpayers always end up paying the freight for these “public” projects, and their ‘representatives’ on the Council spend our money any way they like.

      So remember: City Council elections are next year…

      • “On top of Ol’ Smokey all covered with hair,
        of course I’m referring to Smokey the Bear”
        Lyrics by Allan Sherman

        No one cares about John’s opinion,but I do enjoy pointing out the paltry number of those who share his viewpoint in our enlightened community. Fortunately the angry rants of such aged clueless conservative fossils falls on deaf ears here in San Jose & sways absolutely no one. However the incessant whining & complaining coming from the same half dozen enraged Neanderthals who’ve made SJI their forum is like music to my ears. If only level-headed progressives were commenting on these articles,I’d quickly become bored thanking them for sharing their intellect & insight. It’s only the meandering musings of moronic malcontents that inspires me to respond with honed retorts & a sharper tongue. Keep up the good work !

        • > If only level-headed progressives were commenting on these articles,I’d quickly become bored thanking them for sharing their intellect & insight. It’s only the meandering musings of moronic malcontents that inspires me to respond with honed retorts & a sharper tongue. Keep up the good work !

          Memo to Dan Pulcrano:

          See! You really need me.

          Without me, SJI would be as dull and boring as the Murky News or MoveOn.org or the Left Hook.

          I should get a raise!

  5. At a large multibuilding residential project near my home, non-union labor was used for construction of the first two floors. At that point an inspection by the city is required. It was found that the electrical work was substandard and had to be ripped out and redone. At this point the contractor brought in union electriicians to do the job correctly.. Quality work costs money. Doing it right the first time saves money.

    • > It was found that the electrical work was substandard and had to be ripped out and redone.

      Was the new bay bridge built by union labor?

      I understand there was some “substandard” work.

  6. Memo to Waxy, Downer, Morehead and other enthusiastic progressives:

    https://youtu.be/GXl8vRmLeJk

    How excited are you by Tom Steyer’s 10 million dollar “Impeach Trump” ads run during the World Series and other sports events?

    A. Excited.
    B. Very, very excited,
    C. More excited than Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein at a casting call for a porn movie

    Is the ad enough to make Steyer a rock star in the progressive movement?

    Complete the following sentence:

    “My big compassionate progressive bleeding heart belongs to:”

    A, Hillary
    B, Bernie
    C. Elizabeth Warren
    D. Kamala Harris
    E. Joe Biden
    F. Tom Steyer

    • What’s your point ? And would wearing a hair piece like your hero Hair Furor camouflage it from public view ? How about compiling a list in an area of your own expertise,we’ll do fine without you ? Try picking the winner/loser from the field of Republicans vying for a chance to get trounced at the polls in the race for US Senator from California in 2018 ! It’s not the Democrats/progressives who are bleeding here,it’s the Republicans/conservatives that are almost completely bled out. No pulse,no problem, The smart money says that there won’t even be a GOP candidate on the General Election ballot in 2018 (there wasn’t one last time). The last two GOP candidates for this Senate seat Dick Mountjoy (2006) & Elizabeth Emken (2012) have completely disappeared from the political landscape. The former is dead (who knew ?) & the latter’s political career is as dead as he is now. She’s lost two runs for Congress & one run for the Senate,so it’s quite unlikely that she’d be persuaded to draw the short straw again. Why don’t you run Bubble,you’re already a bonafide loser ? Oh that’s right,your only plausible supporters folded their Sample Ballots into paper hats the last time & couldn’t find their polling places if they were in their mother’s garage. Disgruntled South Bay Republicans are always good for a chuckle or two !

      • Waxy:

        > How about compiling a list in an area of your own expertise,we’ll do fine without you ?

        Why are you so shamed by the list of leading Democrat candidates?

    • You don’t have enough choices.

      Question 1:

      D. Two thirds as excited as Bubbly at getting a chance to demonstrate his awesome intellect

      E. Half as excited as Prez Rump’s cabinet at getting the chance to work with and implement the agenda of this gifted, talented, well endowed, handsome, charming, you-get-the-idea prez who has accomplished more before he even took office than any president has accomplished in office and certainly has accomplished more in the first two days of office than any president will ever accomplish in heaven or hell.

      F. Just over half as excited as the above (which is ridiculously friggin excited for the average human)

      [I’m at choice F]

      And add Question 3:

      My huge, awesome, free-thinking, tell-it-like-it-is, common-sense, right-wing member is:

      A. At least .00001 percent as big as that of Prez Rump
      B. .01 percent as big (dang that’s big!!)
      C. So big it has its own zip code
      D. A whooping 50% the size of Prez Rump’s

      Take your time and think it through. This is an open book test.

  7. Got him!

    > Most people do in fact hate scabs & rightfully so. A scab is so low that he’d have to climb ten flights of stairs to kiss a snake’s ass !

    Smoked out another “progressive” hater.

    SJI Comments policy:

    We will not post racist, sexist or sexually explicit comments, obvious commercial promotion, off-topic comments or comments that constitute a slur against a person or group.

    We will not publish comments that deride a person or group of people for their physical characteristics, and we will not post comments from “cyberbullies.”

    • Instead of trying to set traps with the comments policy, work on the multiple choice question I gave you. Rate your member against Prez Rump. Come on, stop being lazy and get to work Bubbly. It’s an open book test and you’re free to call the White House for exact measurements.

  8. Waxy, Downer:

    Thank you for your insightful commentary on the prospects for Democracy, the Democrat Party, and leading Democrat candidates.

    Judging from the amount of sheer incoherence, ill will, and social maladjustment, I predict Democrat on Democrat violence.

    Fortunately for Republicans, the chances of being hit by a flying chair, whiskey bottle, or a stray bullet are minimal because the population is so sparse.

    • So it’s ill will and incoherence when I do it and sheer brilliance when you do it? Or maybe it’s “Occam’s Razor” when you do it? I’d have to consult your fan club for the exact term.

      I just give you back what you dish out. If you’re patronizing and insulting, I will be too. Except when you get it back, you go crying to mommy. You start whining about the comments policy. All bullies cry when you hit back. But no, you don’t have a safe space for unilateral bullying here.

      As for getting hit by flying chairs, at this point you’re more likely to get hit by radioactive fallout from a North Korean nuclear test over the Pacific. Get ready to praise your own dear leader afterwards.

      • > So it’s ill will and incoherence when I do it . . . .

        Correct. Isn’t that what I said?

      • Why do you think he’s inside the bubble ? It’s obvious that he’s too fearful to venture outside of the protection of his sterile environment,his feelings too fragile to deal with the real world. He’s like the bully who tries to take your lunch money & then goes whining to his mommy when you fight back. Like the bloviating Great Oz,if you look behind the curtain you’ll find a timid little man. Just a blustery buffoon who tries to project a manly demeanor,but quickly retreats when faced with the tiniest amount of opposition. He can’t stand the heat,but he’s not bright enough to stay out of the kitchen. It takes a whole lot of gall to vilify & patronize those with whom he disagrees & then tattle on those who respond in kind. A pitiful,pathetic,pugnacious,political poser who loves to dish it out,but gets his panties in a bunch when he’s on the receiving end. Some might say he’s spineless & some might say he’s a coward,but the consensus appears to be that he’s a spineless coward. Sort of like the brat who pulls your hair & then cry’s like a baby when you elbow him in the ribs. I’m not an advocate of corporal punishment,but if anyone deserves a good spanking at least once every day it’s Bubble Boy !

  9. > Why do you think he’s inside the bubble ?

    Waxy:

    You seem to be disoriented.

    I’m OUTSIDE THE BUBBLE.

    You’re INSIDE THE BUBBLE.

    Repeat:

    ME OUTSIDE.

    YOU INSIDE.

    Got it?

  10. Oh you live inside a bubble alright ! You live in a world of make believe,where facts don’t matter & the truth is just a distraction. Where the vast majority of your neighbors are always wrong about every issue & their point of view is just fodder to be denigrated. A place where your conservative agenda still reigns supreme,although it’s been rejected by this regions voters time & time again. You cling to the culture of a bygone era where all the men wore hats & people would get dressed up to travel by train or to see a movie. A time when civil rights & equal rights were just a dream & minorities knew their place & kept their mouths shut. The days when men were men & women did as they were told or suffered the consequences if they had the temerity to voice their objections. Where white men were firmly in control of everything,did as they pleased & no one dared to challenge them because that’s just the way things were.

    Well Bubble times have certainly changed in these parts ! White men are now a minority & the number of conservatives is so small that they’re just ignored by local politicians. Just a small number of angry marginalized malcontents unhappy with the new world they find themselves living in. Whose only recourse is whining & complaining about how they’ve been victimized & pining for the good ol’ days. It’s a new day now where all the people have a voice whether they be women,ethnic & religious minorities,immigrants & those in the LGBTQ community to name a few. The days of old white men riding roughshod over everybody else are long gone in Silicon Valley politics & their agenda when judged by it’s merits is found to be sorely lacking. No one is afraid to speak out & confront hatred & bigotry wherever & whenever it’s champions have the audacity to show their ugly & repulsive faces anymore ! That’s progress & it’s why we’re known as progressives. So either retreat,repent & capitulate to us or you’ll certainly end up getting trampled by us time & time again. Believe me,you’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy & if your dog could speak you’d find that he doesn’t like you much either !!!

    • Progressive Waxy, meet Hater Waxy.

      > No one is afraid to speak out & confront hatred & bigotry wherever & whenever it’s champions have the audacity to show their ugly & repulsive faces anymore !

      . . . . . . . .

      > Most people do in fact hate scabs & rightfully so. A scab is so low that he’d have to climb ten flights of stairs to kiss a snake’s ass !

      . . . . . . . .

      > That’s progress & it’s why we’re known as progressives.

      I’m sure you two will have a lot to talk about.

    • > Well Bubble times have certainly changed in these parts ! White men are now a minority & the number of conservatives is so small that they’re just ignored by local politicians. Just a small number of angry marginalized malcontents unhappy with the new world they find themselves living in.

      Yoohoo! Waxy!

      Earth calling Waxy!

      Democrat strategists blame Hillary’s loss in the last election to writing off the white working class vote:

      https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-democratic-civil-war-is-getting-nasty-even-if-no-one-is-paying-attention

      > Greenberg and other prominent Democrats still furious about last year’s Clinton campaign think it’s entirely possible, unless the Party figures out, and fast, a way to tackle the problem that sealed Clinton’s fate in 2016: how to appeal to the disaffected white working-class voters who provided Trump’s unlikely win a year ago.

      Go ahead, Waxy. Just keep pissing on white people.

      You didn’t need any Democrat friends anyway.

  11. I’m not the one with the voices in my head,do you try to get a consensus or a plurality before you delight us with your bewildering commentary ? Once again when Bubbles can’t dispute the factual nature of our astute observations,he resorts to quoting us out of context,derisive nicknames,personal attacks & abruptly changing the subject. It would appear that while he lacks any personal grasp of the subjects that he pontificates about ad infinitum,he still insists on exposing his complete lack of veracity by being unable to offer any sort of intelligent response. He obviously has difficulty forming a cognizant thought of his own,so he deflects & lashes out furiously like his reviled heroes at Breitbart & on Fox News. Totally bereft of whatever pride & self-respect he may have once had,he can only bark & bellow at his many detractors in an infantile effort to call attention to himself. Unfortunately it’s hard to tell if his cranial capacity is suddenly in a precipitous decline or whether it never amounted to very much in the first place. While losing his grasp on reality is a given,the inability to ascertain the root cause does tend to take some of the fun out of laughing at & humiliating him. Suffice it to say that as long as he has the arrogance,impudence & effrontery to insult our intelligence with his inane & ill-conceived commentary,we’ll always be here to counter,discourage & impede him every chance we get. Alas,it would appear that all of the eloquent conservative voices like William F. Buckley & Barry Goldwater have passed on & with spokesmen like the Bubble carrying their mantle the complete collapse of conservatism must be just around the corner. Although it is said that “The future is Unknown” so “Take a drink & be somebody” – Unknown Hinson (King of the Country-Western Troubadours).

    • > He obviously has difficulty forming a cognizant thought of his own, . . . .

      > Totally bereft of whatever pride & self-respect he may have once had,he can only bark & bellow at his many detractors in an infantile effort to call attention to himself. Unfortunately it’s hard to tell if his cranial capacity is suddenly in a precipitous decline or whether it never amounted to very much in the first place.

      My mother’s feelings are going to be hurt.

      • The truth hurts,but I wouldn’t worry about your mother because she already knows all these things about you ! And yet she still allows you to come up from her basement to use her PC. Here’s a thought,how about you rubbing some of that soothing salve on her for a change ?

  12. A comment on media bias for the author: why would you link only the study from the union-funded (and, regretably, taxpayer-funded) pro-union institute at UC Berkeley and yet fail to link any of the credible studies of specific projects from the other academic sources that it contradicts? Councilmember Peralez offered an ad-hominem attack on the alleged funders of the Beacon Institute (the Koch brothers – they’re also among the biggest private funders of cancer research –
    perhaps there’s a linkage?) which has produced several carefully-researched studies. The only two studies that did NOT find higher costs and less competition from PLAs were, coincidentally, from two sources – one, a labor-funded, pro-union institute in New York State and, two, a labor-funded, pro-union institute in California. Interesting, isn’t it?

  13. I was wondering when the Koch suckers would find a local spokesman to bash unions. Remember,it’s not polite to speak with your mouthful or choke when you’ve taken on more than you can swallow !

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