There’s little that I can tell you that you are not keenly aware of.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 is coming down, the number of vaccines being injected into arms is going up. Contractors are touching base to check on the availability of our workforce. Through the pandemic we did not see much of a drop off in hours worked.
When the pandemic first hit us, our Business Manager used his relationship with California Governor Gavin Newsom to have our craft designated as “Essential Workers,” allowing us to continue working, adhering to stronger safety guidelines. Many other crafts were not able to obtain the same designation and were not allowed to continue working. We have also continued working with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council to secure more projects through Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) and Project Stabilization Agreements (PSAs). These agreements are not all the same, but some of the highlights include Prevailing Wage, and adherence to our CBAs where said wage is determined.
A daily occurrence that has really been changed and has been highlighted is the Project Pre Job Conference. These PJCs happen for every PLA and PSA contract and usually for each of the different phases of each project. The pandemic forced what was typically a boring hours-long meeting to happen online via video conferencing (Zoom, Teams, Blue Jeans, Cisco WebEx) and to take place at a much more efficient pace. General Contractors send out the invitations to the sub-contractors that they have secured to take on portions of the project and representatives from all unions that the sub-contractors will assign their work to. It is tedious and time consuming.
From Local 11, we will typically have someone from Compliance, to make sure that all portions of our CBA are adhered to, the agent whose district the project will be built and agents who cover the specialties (signage, Intelligent Transportation, Sound & Communications). We are able to gauge future work by the number of PJCs we participate in weekly.
The future is bright. Today alone, there are 10 and not all will concern S&C work, but being there keeps the Laborers from claiming the installations of speakers or the mounting of cameras, work they continue to try and claim.
Stay safe, work safe.