Letter to the Editor

Got it backward

Arroyo GrandeJanuary 31, 2013 

Regarding the article on Jan. 28 about the city of Arroyo Grande’s consideration of becoming a charter city, the union bosses have it backward. In that article, they were quoted as saying that when a city becomes a charter city and no longer has to pay prevailing wages, it causes work to go to untrained, out-of-town workers. In my experience, the opposite is true.

Typically, when agency-funded projects go out to bid, they attract many bigcity contractors. The big city contractors are exclusively union and have signed contracts with the unions to use union-only subcontractors. When they win the project, they are required to use only union sub-contractors.

Since many of our small local contractors work on private as well as public contracts and are typically non-union, they are then shut out of being able to bid on projects under general contractor’s contract. The result is that the work is done by out-of-town union sub-contractors. On public projects, it is not uncommon for construction workers to drive more than 200 miles from metropolitan areas to perform work here on the Central Coast.

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