San Diego Unified School District Moves Forward with Project Works Agreement

Last night the San Diego Unified School District moved forward with negotiating a Project Works Agreement for the $2.1 billion Proposition S program. The Public Works Agreement more than likely will have many of the components of a project labor agreement.

It was a great meeting, with the exception of two board members saying that they "supported labor", but could not support this agreement. There were about 400-500 union supporters in attendance at the meeting. It is a huge step forward for the district and could mean thousands of local jobs over the course of the program.

Let it be known, Labor has got game in San Diego.

The Voice of San Diego wrote an article about the meeting and the vote.
The San Diego Unified school board late Tuesday night opted to hash out a work agreement with a union coalition on how $2.1 billion facilities bond that voters approved in November is spent.

The move was widely seen as a sign of union prowess on the San Diego Unified school board, which tilted in November to a new majority that is more sympathetic to labor. Its new members include Richard Barrera, a labor organizer who ran unopposed, and John Lee Evans, a child psychologist who was strongly backed by the teachers union in his bid against incumbent Mitz Lee. Both voted along with school board President Shelia Jackson to begin negotiating the agreement, in opposition to board members John de Beck and Katherine Nakamura.

Union proponents contend that the agreements can actually save money by improving workplace safety and avoiding labor disputes, and could encourage more union shops to bid for jobs. They marshaled hundreds of supporters to combat their opponents' claims. Roy Grimes, the president of the Sacramento City Unified school board, said that a similar agreement in his district saved money and improved the quality of work, as did a former school board member from Los Angeles Unified. Some framed the agreement as a social justice issue and an investment in the future of San Diego.

Though this process is just beginning, I think that the local building trades and the district and make that "win-win" for the community.

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