Beware of “Go Build California” - Coalition Members are Anti-Union

State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
January 25, 2018



State Building and Construction Trades President Robbie Hunter has issued a warning for all affiliated Building Trades unions to beware of a new workforce-development coalition operating under the banner of “Go Build California.”


"If approached by Go Build, we recommend that Building Trades affiliates decline to participate in what they call their ‘labor-neutral workforce development initiative,’” Hunter said.


“The member organizations of this coalition raise concerns with us that workers themselves will have no voice, very little training, and will be exploited at low wages in the underground economy of construction,” Hunter added.


The Jan. 17 press release put out by the coalition said:


“Go Build California and the AGC Construction Education Foundation (AGC CEF), the workforce development arm of the Associated General Contractors of California (AGC), today announce the addition of partners Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), California Homebuilding Foundation (CHF), Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange (SRBX) Education Foundation, and Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA). The group is supported by additional program sponsors including Marina Landscape and Royal Electric. These partners, in addition to who was announced in November as the program’s first Platinum Partner, will provide key industry insight that will guide Go Build California’s strategy over the coming years.”


If a construction advocacy organization is known by the company it keeps, the image of the Associated General Contractors of California has just been greatly diminished through its alignment with the notoriously antiunion Associated Builders & Contractors, as well as with the California Homebuilding Foundation, the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange Education Foundation, and the Western Electrical Contractors Association.


ABC and WECA, of course, ideologically oppose the prevailing wage, and they also advocate “right to work” laws designed to kill unions. The California Homebuilding Foundation, meanwhile, paid for a study published in the heat of last year’s legislative session that falsely reported that the prevailing wage would jack up housing costs by 37 percent.


These groups now raise fears about a construction labor shortage. What they’re really worried about is a shortage of workers for them to exploit by paying them poverty wages. The state is tightening up on labor standards and has new laws on the books, many of which were sponsored by the State Building Trades, like last year’s Assembly Bill 1701 that seeks to put an end to wage theft. A lot of these low-ball contractors don’t pay taxes or unemployment insurance or workers comp, and they have opposed efforts to end wage theft and other abuses in the underground economy.


With many construction workers proceeding into their well-earned retirements, California of course needs to replenish its construction labor force. It is doing so by looking into expanded Career Technical Education and vocational education, by supporting its strong joint labor/management apprenticeship programs, and by holding strong to its pre-apprenticeship standards that feature instruction out of the versatile Multi-Craft Core Curriculum.


We say that the state can further address its shortage of workers by directing its contracts to California companies that employ a streamlined, skilled and trained Building Trades workforce and pay them a fair wage. These are men and women who came up through joint labor/management apprenticeship programs that prepare construction workers for jobs anywhere in the world.


If contractors follow the standards, they’ll know where to find workers – and it won’t be through anything affiliated with the ABC.


Be on the lookout for this Go Build California press release:


And here’s a video to remind you what ABC is all about:

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