Kaiser

Building the Trades

Michael Theriault, Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Michael Theriault, Executive Secretary-Treasurer

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.

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.

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.

Those who follow the Council's meeting minutes will have long known that Supervisor Mark Farrell has introduced legislation establishing a Citywide project labor agreement (PLA) policy.

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.

Donald Trump came to speak to the Building Trades. You may now have seen the story, here in Organized Labor and elsewhere: Trump spoke 4 April to the annual legislative conference of North America’s Building Trades Unions, the umbrella organization for all Building Trades except (one hopes just for now) the Carpenters. You can find the speech on YouTube.

As this month’s Organized Labor reports, the administration of President Donald Trump through its Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has refused to sign off on a federal grant for the electrification of the aging Caltrain commuter rail system from Tamien Station in San Jose to Fourth and King in San Francisco.

In a recent New York Times editorial, Naomi Klein criticized leaders of our national organization, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), for their 23 January meeting with President Donald Trump and their satisfaction in his support for the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines.

Developers and general contractors have complained many months now of high subcontracting prices. The explanation for high subcontracting prices is multifarious and debatable, but one factor I have cited frequently to developers and contractors has met no argument.

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