Friday, September 22, 2006

Political signs need to be union!

I recently attended an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Industrial Workers of the World One Big Union! meeting at the Labor Temple in Eureka. One of the focus of the meeting was to start organizing drives here locally. There are a few targets that should become public in the near future. One thing that I saw while leaving was a few signs up on the front lawn of the Temple that were made non union! I will not name them, but one is in the window of the Carpenters (UBC) local 751. This should not happen at the Labor Temple. If the Central Labor Council or any individual union local that uses the Temple endorses a political candidate, make sure those candidates use union labor for their signs, or keep them off the property! Just my take.

27 comments:

mresquan said...

the first 40 signs that were put out by Larry Glass were made non-union.Apparently that problem has been fixed,and the rest of the signs have been union made.There was some sort of mix up in getting those signs out.I talked to Roxana(Larry's campaign manager)about it after our meeting on Wednesday.She was quite embarrased by a mishap which took place in ordering them.

samoasoftball said...

Glad to see the Glass campaign cares. Now I hope the UBC 751 follows suit and replaces the sign in the window. Their candidate has union signs also.

Anonymous said...

How can you tell if a sign was made union or not?

Anonymous said...

Should be a imprint on the bottom.

Mike Buettner said...

So Richard, how do you feel about union labor required for building things like the skate park in Eureka? That is what is creating the gap in funds donated vs needed. About $100k as I understand it. Paying prevailing wage could kill the skate park. Is there any negotiating room on things like this?

samoasoftball said...

It will have a little union "bug" logo usually in the bottom identifying the union printer. Humboldt County is very well represented as far as signs done by union labor. That is good. I forced that issue with Bonnie's campaign and they took my lead and now others are following. So some good came out of my loss. "look for the union label if you are able...." does anybody remember that song advertisement jingle in the 60's? We need to get back to our labor roots!

samoasoftball said...

Mike: my wife and I were really into the skateboard stuff in the 1970's at Coopers Gulch. (I was a skateboard type, my oldest son was endorsed by DOPE WAX as a competitor . The hold up has been politically driven. I feel all building should be union. The hold up should not be happening!

mike Buettner said...

Why do you say the hold-up is political?

Fred said...

Mike writes, "Paying prevailing wage could kill the skate park".

Indeed. I can't help but wonder how much union involvement has to do with the huge cost overruns of the Highway 101 upgrades down around Santa Rosa?

I sounds like some parts of the project might be discontinued since projected costs have doubled over the last year or two.

Eric V. Kirk said...

Fred - the wages, union or not, are constants negotiated prior to the signing of the contract. The overruns had to come from somewhere else, and it was probably negligent bean counting.

And you can't blame Caltrans per se Fred. Unless my information is wrong, that whole project was contracted out to private companies. I'd like to know if there's an effective bidding process involved, or can CalTrans just fork contracts over to their buddies.

I remember a few years back California voters rejected a proposition that would have mandated the CalTrans to the work itself if they had the in-house manpower at hand, and if the costs would be lower than any private bid. I never understood the objection to that - from people without personal stake in a no-bid process.

samoasoftball said...

Mike: NIMBY's and insurance liability and plain apathy sometimes have slowed the progress. And yet my children were able to use the Arcata skateboard facility while Eureka still flounders. But it is getting closer to reality. Maybe in the next few years.

Mike Buettner said...

The Skate Park has to happen next year or they loose something like $200k that sunsets in 2008.

NIMBYism seems not to be an issue now. Neighbors of Cooper Gulch are happy the disk golfers are there.

Apthay is an imapirment as some funding requires an active youth support group for the park. It is difficult ggetting kids organized especially when the project draws on.

As designed, the Skate Park requires a high level of masonry expertise. That is where the prevailing wage becomes significant and pushes the costs quite high.

So I ask again, isn't there any room for negotiating with the unions regarding prevailing wage on a project that is for public use and generates no income?

samoasoftball said...

Mike: All public works jobs have to abide by the Davis Bacon Act:

"That the advertised specifications for every contract in excess of $2,000, to which the United States or the District of Columbia is a party, for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating, of public buildings or public works of the United States or the District of Columbia within the geographical limits of the States of the Union or the District of Columbia, and which requires or involves the employment of mechanics and/or laborers shall contain a provision stating the minimum wages to be paid various classes of laborers and mechanics which shall be based upon the wages that will be determined by the Secretary of Labor to be prevailing for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects of a character similar to the contract work in the city, town, village, or other civil subdivision of the State in which the work is to be performed, or in the District of Columbia if the work is to be performed there; and every contract based upon these specifications shall contain a stipulation that the contractor or his subcontractor shall pay all mechanics and laborers employed directly upon the site of the work, unconditionally and not less often than once a week, and without subsequent deduction or rebate on any account, the full amounts accrued at time of payment, computed at wage rates not less than those stated in the advertised specifications, regardless of any contractual relationship which may be alleged to exist between the contractor or subcontractor and such laborers and mechanics, and that the scale of wages to be paid shall be posted by the contractor in a prominent and easily accessible place at the site of the work; and the further stipulation that there may be withheld from the contractor so much of accrued payments as may be considered necessary by the contracting officer to pay to laborers and mechanics employed by the contractor or any subcontractor on the work the difference between the rates of wages required by the contract to be paid laborers and mechanics on the work and the rates of wages received by such laborers and mechanics and not refunded to the contractor, subcontractors, or their agents.

Andrew Bird said...

Getting back to the union bugs, I just checked out Virginia Bass' signs. I did not see a union bug. Peter La Vallee's signs have a union bug.

samoasoftball said...

Andrew: One thing that I saw while leaving was a few signs up on the front lawn of the Temple that were made non union! I will not name them, but one is in the window of the Carpenters (UBC) local 751. This should not happen at the Labor Temple. If the Central Labor Council or any individual union local that uses the Temple endorses a political candidate, make sure those candidates use union labor for their signs, or keep them off the property! Just my take.

Virginia does not have a sign at the Temple. I wish her signs were union, but she was not even given the courtesy of a interview by the Central Labor Council. They tend to mess up that way some times. Tell em I said that, and I have done more for labor than most of them. I have helped thousands all over the west coast realize better wages through unin organizing. This local group needs some work. But I will admit that they do more than some Rural areas.

Andrew Bird said...

First: The initial comment by "mresquan" is incorrect. All the Larry Glass campaign signs were made in a union shop. It was the shop that somehow left the union bug off the first 40 or so. The shop was supposed to supply the Glass campaign with some stickers to add to those signs.

Second, Richard: You acknowledge that Virginia Bass' campaign signs were made in a non-union shop, but you justify this by stating Virginia was not invited for an interview by the Central Labor Council?

Are you sure about this "non-invitation?"

I believe that Virginia Bass, or any other candidate, had the the opportunity to appear before the Central Labor Council, if they so chose. All they had to do was show up at the Council's monthly business meeting.

Eureka Mayor Peter La Vallee earned the CLC's endorsement the old-fashioned way: He went to that meeting and asked for it.

Peter's campaign signs, campaign brochure and remittance envelopes all carry the union bug. Peter has always been a friend to, and supporter of, union labor. Always.

Can you say this about Virginia? Perhaps this explains why Peter went to the CLC meeting seeking an endorsement, while Virginia did not.

samoasoftball said...
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samoasoftball said...

Andrew: I corrected the issue on Larry Glass earlier. I feel that unions should help all candidates through their processes as far as seeking endorsements and protocol. Virginia was not invited for the CLC meeting to be included in the process. This happened to me, a 30 year union man, with locals that endorsed Bonnie Neely who like Peter, has done nothing for labor except for collecting checks and photo ops. The only reason any of these candidates are using union made signs is my insistance during the primary to have union endorsed candidates be sure to use union labor. That is why Bonnie still has some non-union made signs out there, because she had them made before I made it an issue. Virginia needed the invitation to garner these endorsements, and to leaderships of these unions I ask; are you really representing your members or your own self interests? I am waiting for a response publically by any local union leaders.

Andrew Bird said...

I'm not sure where you are getting your information regarding "invitations" from the Central Labor Council. Peter La Vallee was not invited to seek an endorsement. We sought out the CLC. We called and asked for time to speak at the September meeting.

Virginia Bass could have done the same. With all due respect, blaming the CLC for Virignia's failure to show any interest in organized labor is disingenuous.

You are incorrect when you say Peter has done nothing for labor. Early in his first term as Mayor, Peter fought for and won prevailing wage on a city project. Peter was featured in a union trade journal for this effort.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: All public works job have to pay prevailing wage. By law. That Peter supported the law is something he should always do.

Andrew Bird said...

What you don't, know, anonymous, is that the city was trying to get away with it, and Peter stepped in and brought city administrators and the unions together. Ask Jim Smith, Mariann Hassler, or Bob Bork about it.

samoasoftball said...
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Anonymous said...

What about painted wooden signs like Dave Meserve's? Pretty hard to get a union bug on those!

samoasoftball said...

Wait, wait here Andrew. Ms. Hassler's and Mr. Borck's job is to protect prevailing wage payment on public works jobs. Not Peter's. They are paid agents of the UBC.

samoasoftball said...

Wooden painted signs are high maintenance but show the people care. Those are fine, as are non union signs bought with candidates who have no union ties. The bug is a personal preference.

Anonymous said...

What about peace signs?

samoasoftball said...

Peace signs are cool and we have a huge lack of them today. I hate war and rumors of war. We need to practice love and tolerance of others. My heart goes out to all veterans who served time for our country. I pray for our current troops, and hope for world peace sometime in the future. All I am saying is give peace a chance........(missing John)