FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The Fresno City Council voted to overturn Mayor Jerry Dyer’s veto of a citywide project labor agreement.
The PLA means certain city construction jobs will go only to unionized workers.
“I do believe this was a well-intentioned project labor agreement, however, there are negative consequences,” Dyer said.
The PLA states local contractors awarded city projects over $1 million, may not solely use their own workers. 50% must be from the Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings Building and Construction Trades Council.
Apprentices must also be from unions.
“First time in my career I’ve even seen a city council adopt a policy that says let’s go backward on hiring local workers and hiring local contractors,” Thomas Esqueda Fresno’s City Manager said.
He said data shows the city’s current development team provides more hours to local workers than the unions.
But proponents said the move will help down the line.
“What we’re trying to create is a pipeline for a workforce development program,” Councilmember Luis Chavez said.
The apprentice programs focus on disadvantaged communities.
“This is actually an avenue for somebody who’s made a lot of mistakes and done their time. I’ve witnessed it myself, to have a support group and come out, it’s about the economy, have a pathway to a livelihood,” Councilmember Mike Karbassi said.
Dyer said he supports PLA’s but asked for exemptions for contractors meeting certain criteria including being headquartered in Fresno and employing Fresno residents.
“This isn’t about unions. I have a deep respect for folks who are part of the union. What this means to me though is we have to balance that with being able to support our local businesses,” he said.
The PLA goes into effect in 120 days, Chavez said the council does plan on revisiting how it’s working down the line.