Mike has been a member of the Ironworkers Union since 1985. He was appointed as Business Representative with his Local in 2001 to fill out the unexpired term of retiring Randy Oyler. He was elected in his own right to a second term in 2003. Mike has been an active participant in the Business Agents meetings for the last several years. He has worked with Stan Warren and Larry Mazzola in support of union issues at San Francisco City Hall. He has spent long evenings speaking in support of union projects at the City Planning Commission, The Board of Supervisors, The San Francisco Unified School District and the San Francisco City College Board to name a few.
The tax plan passed by the Republican Congress and signed by President Trump last month includes a stealth attack on construction unions.
The so-called "independent contractor" is already widespread in non-union construction. An "independent contractor" in construction is generally a worker who does the same tasks as we do, but who is supposedly no one's employee but his own, even if his shoulder is into the same load as another worker's, and even if he is one among dozens working side-by-side on the same job under the same supervision.
Just hours before this edition of Organized Labor went to press, word came that Mayor Ed Lee had died.
I set aside the column I had been writing, on the likely damage of Republican tax plans to our organizing. That topic, alas, will likely have even more awful clarity next month.
In my column of July 2016, "The Hidden Costs of Modular Construction," I described a presentation in which San Francisco Department of Building Inspection staffers told the Building Inspection Commission that modular construction units were subject to California state building codes but not to more stringent San Francisco codes. The Department's inspectors said they couldn't even "look inside the box," but were restricted to inspecting the exteriors of units, their external connections, and such elements as foundations, corridors, cladding, and roofs.
When in 2014 Supervisor Mark Farrell began to consider legislation establishing a Citywide project labor agreement (PLA) policy, he asked the City Controller's office for a risk-benefit analysis. The Controller's office produced a final draft of that analysis in March 2016. Although not widely disseminated, the analysis is a public document. We have a copy.
In discussing our proposed Citywide project labor agreement (PLA) policy with San Francisco government, we have heard it might hurt small contractors. Even after asking repeatedly, we have not heard just how it could. We have no reason, then, to consider the concern real.
A frontpage story in this month's Organized Labor reports on the detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, of Building Trades members Rodrigo Nuñez and Hugo Mejia. In May Nuñez and Mejia reported for work at a hospital on Travis Air Force Base. Authorities apparently determined that the taxpayer identification numbers through which they had been paying taxes were not Social Security numbers. ICE then seized them.
San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee passed a resolution 28 June supporting Supervisor Mark Farrell’s Citywide Project Labor Agreement Policy. Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer offered an amendment saying that the policy should require an effort to provide opportunities to previously incarcerated individuals.
Supervisor Mark Farrell has introduced legislation that would require use of a project labor agreement, or PLA, on City-funded work of more than $1 million, except at the "enterprise agencies" of Port, Airport, Public Utilities Commission, and Municipal Transportation Authority.