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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sound Jobs In San Francisco And The Lack Of A Sound Organization And More Enforcement.

In has been over two years now and some of us have been working very hard and provide Union jobs for our youth and those that have skills the many journeymen and women that live in the Southeast Sector of San Francisco.

The Local Ordinance that passed helps some but it does not deliver anything on a platter. If fact it does not open the doors - we must break down some doors - to enter and demand justice and fair play in the job market.

Local Hire Ordinance - a glimpse into the future:

The system followed by the Unions and the many Project Labor Agreements caters to a inner circle who have access to job.

As much as new recruits join any UNION those that have been in for some time and especially those that have connections get work - the others for all practical purposes - have to hassle. They are left to fend for themselves and that is the real world. Make no mistake. 

It does not help that the leaders of the Trade Council are pompous.

That some Union Leaders think they know it all.

That some Unions like the Laborers' Union want to work - but lack the ability to Market their product and in many cases fundamentally comprehend the legalese incorporated in the Project Labor Agreement that are convoluted.

The recent Project Labor Agreement linked to the Transbay Project come to mind.  Fast tracked for ulterior purposes - right now everyone is watching at a Big Hole - where the Grand Central Station of the West is proposed to be build.

There is NO money for the High Speed Rail - some $118 and growing - and those that sat on the Task Force and headed important Committees - have jumped ship.

It may be that we will be gaping at the Big Hole by Second and Market for a long, long time.

You always have some advocates that mean well - however they have not employed too many people giving them decent jobs and aiming for a career.

The present economic conditions have created a long line of workers; who have not worked in a long time. 

Not only in San Francisco but the surrounding area - many, even though they are Union Workers - will work for less to put bread and butter on the table.

Those pushing for Local Hire are mostly on some payroll - either they work for the City and County of San Francisco, are UNION leaders, are advocates who are funded by foundations.

Most of them do not suffer the pangs of not working - and have no clue about the lack of sound jobs - and the thousands that have NOT worked for years.

Many of them do not have the history of the Labor Movement, and many more are in the mix - to make a fast buck. Many of them will get burned for messing with the wrong type of issues and not being educated on issues.

It does not help when Laura Luster who does not live in San Francisco but continues to pander in San Francisco - is called upon to prepare a White Paper that has "good faith crap" written all over it.

Such demons should be shunned and I hope Mayor Edwin Lee pays attention to what I am saying and nips this type of crap. We need good jobs that good, decent, hard working San Franciscans can have and keep.

We are fed up with consultants telling us how to think, act, who do not live in our community - but, want to control our jobs and deprive thousands by their fake policies - from putting bread and butter on the table.

In the past we had a situation with Apartment Investment Management Company (AIMCO) in the Bayview Hunters Point. I am stating this incident because it revealed to me and other - how very dysfunctional our City and County of Francisco is - when it comes to enforcement.

The rehabilitation of over two thousands housing units at Hunters Point was in question by Ingalls Street and Oakdale Street and the surrounding area going up the hill - pass Kiska Road.

Some thugs from Colorado were given the contracts and there was mayhem in our community. All under the watchful eye of the City and County of San Francisco and Mayor Gavin Newsom. Dennis Herrera the City Attorney, and Kamala Harris the District Attorney. Rhonda Simmons the Director of Work Force. Michael Cohen the Director of Economic Development. Fred Blackwell the Director of SF Redevelopment Agency and there are more.

We had killings and shootings. We had Union Leaders from Local 22 the Carpenters Union - involved in diabolical activities.

Have you ever heard Union Leaders - have the workers sign their pay checks and turn them over to "thug" Union Leaders.

Then the "thug" Union Leaders -  cash them and treat the workers with disdain by not giving the workers what is theirs? This is worse than the Mafia.

This nonsense went on for over two years - until I stepped in and took over and handed the state of affair to decent people and to the community.

We hired pro-bono attorneys - took the depositions of the many workers and took the matter to court. The case was a class action against AIMCO - which our attorneys won. Lead attorneys Robert Salinas and Renne Saucedo and Hillary Ronnen.

We worked with Mr. Ruben Santana from Rubecorn who took over the job - and helped employ over eighty percent of local hire - most from the Bayview Hunters Point. We stopped the killings and shooting - and we tried to work with AIMCO.

The end result over eight percent worked from the community. The Mayor's Office of Economic Development and Workforce could not help us. The City Attorney could not help us. The District Attorney could not help us.

The people united helped this large project work.

As far as Mr. Ruben Santana was concerned he kept his word and met payroll. Borrowing from the Banks and honoring his word.

The paradox is that AIMCO shafted Mr. Ruben Santana and made Mr. Ruben Santana take AIMCO to court to get his last check - over a million and a half dollars.

After  three years he was paid twenty cents on a dollar.

And Mr. Ruben Santana is still waiting to be paid.
on the balance of what is owed.

This case can be verified, evaluated, and used as a case history - for those that want to dabble with the diabolical and that includes Local Hire in one form or the other.

Simply put the Local Hire has no teeth. You just cannot shout and scream without having any organization in place. No sound enforcement. No sound relationship with the Primes. 

You must stifle the likes of Platinum Consultants and such entities. For a sum they offer you contracts on a platter. The likes of Dwayne Jones who must be debarred from working in San Francisco.

You cannot just work with the Unions and have the San Francisco Trade Council work against you.

You cannot - all of you speak different languages - when you must stand as a united front.

Finally, if you do not truly comprehend Work Force - then you must study it.

The recent Project Labor Agreement (PLA) linked to the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) with the SFPUC did not help too many local hires. True, most of the jobs were away from San Francisco.

Now, we have a six billion dollar plus Sewer System Improvement Project (SSIP) in our backyard.

Where is the organization? Where are the local advocates that comprehend the system and will offer good UNION jobs?

Who is doing the Marketing? Who will be in charge of enforcement? Who truly do you think is guarding the hen house?

The recent fiasco that is beginning to emerge from the America's Cup is a case in point.

There is over two billion dollars of work to be done - in less than eighteen months.

There is not one entity - a large construction company that has achieved such a mandated - linked to so many areas a 7.5 mile area - with so many different issues that must be addressed.

At Pier 27 the basic work be it the architect who was chosen by the Department of Public Works, the deconstruction, and building of the just the shell is easy.

Turner and Turner will deliver - and they will use their own workers. The reason is simple - there is no time to train or use other workers who cannot work and attain certain goals and attain time-lines. The company is fighting time and time is not on their side.

If we take the Piers - the divers and the below water type of work. We do not have many experts in San Francisco. City Build cannot train anyone to use simple skills with a twelve to sixteen week program. Our other workers do not specialize in such jobs.

How many journeymen welders to you think we have? How many divers who can work in cold, deep water do you think we have? How many companies that specialized in the abatement and mitigation of fuel contamination that persists around the Piers - do you think we have?

We do not have specialized welders for example in large numbers because we had no vision. How many trade schools do you have that train welders to do the work that I enumerated above?

We do not have minority companies that can meet a large payroll. You can shout all you want that you want this and that - but, if you get a job lasting two months and have twenty workers all laborers,  have to pay them UNION wages and the Union dues, provide them equipment, more clothe them and so on.

Provide workers' compensation fees, Bonding and so on - you are out of pocket in excess of $250,000 - that is for two months.

If you use electricians, plumbers, and such workers with a higher pay - you are out of pocket for $300,000 or more.

After the sub-contractor and small contractor finishes the work - it takes minimum sixty days to be paid - maximum ninety days. And with change orders and other shenanigans that come your way - one hundred and eight days and you are bleeding and no one truly comes to your - rescue.

Quote all you may about the Department of Labor Laws, bringing in the attorneys, bringing in the facilitators and mediators, it all cost more money.

If you as a company resort to such tactics - which you may think is right - you might win but you never, ever be given a contract in this City where racism is prevalent and blatant racism a force to be reckoned with.

No evaluation has been done of all the projects that say WEBCOR, NIBBI Brother, CAHILL, Tutor Salibah, Mitchel Engineering, and others have been doing - on all their projects - here in the City and County of San Francisco.

There are agencies that track some transactions in a manner that gives one some sense.

There is no single entity that truly can give you - a clear picture - linked to payroll, prompt payment, evaluation, satisfaction, injury on the job, and so on and so forth.

The software ELATION is too primitive and has too many loopholes. There are many categories of work that cannot be defined by this software - and there is more.

It is only in the last two years - after a lot of noise was made we have some software that does some tracking. But, as I said this tracking system has loopholes - and does not reflect - reality - and more practicality.

In the past two years we have worked with some sub-contractors and put people to work - all of them UNION jobs.

We have met payroll and we taken some hits.

We have tried to have an impeccable injury record - but not without spending more on equipment, durable garments, safety training, tools and other elements at our own expense.

The Mayor's Office of Economic Development and Work Force - has bluffed its way with the Stimulus Plan. Anyone can do that - and we must have some audit on the money spent and how it was spent.

Millions of dollars was expanded to created temporary jobs, training that has left those trained fending for themselves after the short projects went away.

Upper management raking in thousands as profits without putting in their fair share of work. The tax payer taken for a ride.

Such gimmicks and ploys if revealed in detail can hurt the City and County and the fair name our City must maintain.

We continue to have many dishonest people in high places that lie, steal, and will not adhere to accountability and transparency. 

Of course most people do not have the guts to carry on a private audit. If this audit is released many will feel ashamed and even as they read this article they are  panicking and rightly so.

Guilty conscience pricks the soul.

Local Hire sounds and delivering the goods is only possible with a clear vision, sound prove blue print.

Time-lines, good organization, sound enforcement, and the ability of the key Unions, Prime contractors, sub-contractors, those that Bond and our Fiscal Institutions all working - together for the common good of each other.

Simply put if you can meet payroll in time you are KING.

If after completing a project you are paid on time - say thirty days - there is an incentive to do better.

We have Primes underbidding, then making change orders, and delaying jobs.

We have entities after all the paperwork is in - not getting paid and due payment - delayed.

We have fiscal institutions charging high rates of interest, and damping the ability to produce and seek more jobs.

We have over nine thousands journey women and men - that have NOT worked in years in our beloved City and County of San Francisco.

There is not a single entity in our City and County that can address some salient features that I have mentioned in this article - and there is more - but I will save that for latter.

Local Hire Ordinance and all its implications to help get good career jobs: