ABOUT THIS BLOG

I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:

· To post questions or comments;

· To follow up on class discussions;

· To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

The syllabus is at http://www1.cmc.edu/pages/faculty/JPitney/gov106-fall15.html

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Example of Unions Flexing their Muscles at the Local Level

Professor Pitney mentioned at the end of the last class that the unions' influence on government policy is in decline, and I would agree that is true on the federal level. However, this past summer in my hometown of Chula Vista, CA, unions seemed to play a formidable role in preventing the construction of a much-needed convention center and hotel in Chula Vista that would have created thousands of new jobs and brought millions of dollars in revenue to the city.

To give a quick summary, Gaylord Entertainment was planning to build a $1 billion convention center and hotel at Chula Vista's scenic bayfront area. The plan had already been fully approved at the city and county level, all that was left was for the developer to reach a deal with the unions before construction began. However, unions such as the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569 demanded a project labor agreement from Gaylord in which Gaylord would commit to hiring only local union workers for the project. Gaylord refused to any legal commitment, and made some concessions to "give union contractors first dibs to bid on jobs, and preference to local workers" (see article in link 2), but the unions wanted a legal commitment. Without being able to reach some kind of agreement with the unions, Gaylord refused to begin construction and even backed out of the deal because of union threats of using negative publicity and bringing costly environmental suits to their doorstep if Gaylord continued the project without union approval.

So today, the project remains in limbo and I've actually not heard anything recently about the status of it now, as far as I know Gaylord will probably not continue with the project. From the point of view of the unions, they protected the rights and potential benefits of local union workers. From the point of view of nearly everyone else, a project that would have greatly benefited the City of Chula Vista economically and socially was lost.

There are links to two articles below describing basically what happened, the first link is for when talks between the unions and the developer were falling apart, and the second link is for when talks had pretty much ended without a solution.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070630/news_1m30cvlabor.html

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070802/news_1m2cvbay.html

1 comment:

bigchris1313 said...

I love it. When businesses get together to demand more money, we call it collusion and deride it as immoral.

When workers get together to demand more money, we call it collective action and sublimate it. It's insane.