Join Us

Sign up for the lastest information from the IBEW!
Print This Page       Text Size:
News Publications

$2 Billion San Diego PLA Covers School District

Things are looking brighter for unions in San Diego. With the January vote in favor of a $2.1 billion project stabilization agreement (PSA) between the San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego and Imperial County Building and Construction Trades Council, union labor is a step closer to winning hundreds of thousands of hours of new work and new respect.

The district’s school board voted in favor of the project agreement before a standing room audience of over 500 citizens, basing its decision upon the need to put local citizens to work and create good-paying job opportunities for union apprentices. Three hundred members of San Diego Local 569 attended the school board meeting.

The agreement is not yet complete, but, when it is finalized, most of the new work will involve rebuilding electrical and mechanical systems in existing schools. One new school will be built. With so much at stake for electrical workers, the San Diego Electrical Workers Minority Caucus is leading the way to make sure community members know what it means to have a good union career.

Before the School Board vote, the caucus facilitated a speaker’s bureau training.  At the training, electrical workers and other crafts people learned about the intricacies of PSAs. They worked together to develop a strategy to communicate to the public the difference union careers have made in their lives.  Local 569 minority caucus members are leading delegations to community-based organizations, so other San Diegans will know, first-hand, the benefits of sustainable construction careers.

A contingent of school board members and civic leaders from across the state joined IBEW 569 members in calling for the PSA. Charles T. Ramsey, a school board member in West Contra Costa Unified School District in northern California, traveled south to convince the board that working with the Building Trades was the best way to honor a commitment to train new construction workers, especially minorities and women.

“Charles gets it,” says Local 569 Business Manager Allen Shur.  Ramsey, an attorney, has for years supported Martinez, Calif., Local 302 and other building trade locals in negotiating project agreements.  “Many laughed at me, looked at me with skepticism and told me that this day would never happen,” said Ramsey after the San Diego vote. “So yes,” said Ramsey, “I do feel validated, and all those naysayers can now add San Diego Unified to the growing list of school districts that have seen the importance of creating public policy that is great for the community.” Cherie Cabral, business development director for IBEW/NECA statewide helped make the case for signatory contractors.

            With 250 out of 1,800 journeymen on the out-of-work book in Local 569, the school project labor agreement, combined with federal stimulus plan money to renovate old buildings “will make a huge difference in members’ lives,” says Shur.