Political Director’s Report – September 2022
Ballot Measures and Candidates Who Deserve Our Support
By Antonio Sanchez, Political Director
This is the busiest campaign season I have ever experienced. I have received a record number of calls, emails and text messages requesting IBEW Local 11’s endorsement. Yes, Local 11 is popular and a recent Gallup poll shows it’s not just us. The union movement has gained popularity and support. The poll found that U.S. approval of unions is at 71 percent, a high point since 1965. The two biggest reasons for favoring unions are better pay and benefits and employee rights on the job. This is great news! Let’s give credit to President Joe Biden for mentioning the power of the labor movement every chance he gets. Let’s also credit the young activists organizing workplaces like Starbucks and Amazon that we never thought would be union.
The few weeks before the California Legislature adjourned on September 1 were busy. Really busy. In those final weeks, bills are amended. Some bills are approved by both the Senate and the Assembly and move to the Governor’s desk. Many bills are killed.
Here is a short list of important bills that focus on energy, workforce standards, prevailing wage and housing. By the time you read this, the Governor might have already signed them.
AB 2143 (Carrillo) would apply prevailing wage to rooftop solar arrays built on commercial properties and large multi-family housing projects eligible for subsidies under the Net Metering Program. We know that solar installers are underpaid. This bill will change that.
(Caballero) is a large residential housing commercial conversion bill with skilled and trained language that we fully expect to create large-scale housing developments around the state. This bill allows for streamlining of commercial properties being converted into residential use for sites as large as 20 acres.
SB 679 (Kamlager) creates a housing authority in L.A. County to distribute and govern funds for affordable housing. With this bill, we’re preparing for the approval of Measure ULA, the property transfer tax on mansions which will make the funds available and require the use of the project labor agreement (PLA) already used by the City of L.A. Public Works Department.
SB 1295 (Limon) requires the use of a skilled and trained workforce during the plugging and capping of abandoned oil wells.
There are 88 cities in L.A. County and over 50 of them will be electing people to the city council, school board and community college district. Close to 2,000 candidates will be on the November ballot. We do our best to interview and endorse in races that matter most to us. You will find some of our endorsements in this newsletter. Please visit www.ibew11.org for a full list.
I would like to highlight the City of Los Angeles’s Measure ULA that will tax mansions to build housing, the various school repair bonds including Measure LA, the $5.3 billion bond placed on the ballot by Los Angeles Community College District, and the races in Long Beach.
Measure ULA is a property transfer tax in the City of Los Angeles that will apply to properties worth $5 million or more. We estimate that the measure will raise about $1 billion a year, with no sunset. Those funds will help reduce homelessness by helping seniors stay in their homes, providing right to counsel for renters, and building various types of housing with a project labor agreement. We need Measure ULA which will help curb the housing crisis and create lots of work for Local 11.
Voters in numerous school districts will decide on whether to approve school repair and maintenance bonds in November. These are important because our kids deserve first class educational facilities. It’s a fact that well-maintained facilities promote learning, so I ask that you vote “Yes” on the school bond on your ballot. In addition to improving the schools, the bonds are work for the building trades.
Finally, in Long Beach, we endorsed Rex Richardson for Mayor, Kristina Duggan for Council District 3, Megan Kerr for Council District 5, and Joni Ricks-Oddie for Council District 9. Long Beach has been moving to become a more labor-friendly tow. Let’s keep it that way. Please support these candidates.
Please also remember that the power of union movement is being recognized by many more. As Liz Shuler, the President of AFL-CIO and IBEW member tweeted a few weeks ago, “Labor unions now have a higher approval rating than hot dogs.” Let’s keep it that way.