Union electricians picket Ladera Oaks club over non-union wages Other Topics, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:34 am
On most weekday mornings, there's now a crowd of men clad in orange safety vests at the entrance to Ladera Oaks Swim, Fitness & Tennis Club on Alpine Road. They're unemployed union electricians, and they're picketing the major renovation going on there because the electricians are getting wages that are lower than the going rate.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 5, 2009, 5:19 PM
Posted by Sparky, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:34 am
I know the club is just trying to save money but if the club members really believe in the trickle down economy at least let it trickle down on the local guys. Call it a San Mateo County Stimulus Package!
If you hire a local contractor he spends his money locally. Simple concept. If you have money to spend, spend it locally and it will stay here. Spend it on an out of area contractor and he will get in the truck at the end of the day and drive your money over the bridge every day until there are no more small businesses left.
Posted by R U Kidding Me?, a resident of the Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Why would Ladera Oaks, or any business for that matter, want to pay inflated, non-competitive rates for the same job, that someone else can do at 20% cheaper? I'm not a club member @ Ladera Oaks, but the members are the ones paying for this, and they have every right to pay the competitive bid/price. If they had chosen Union contractors, you can sure as heck bet that much of that money would NOT be going to San Mateo County. More than likely, it would be going to the union bosses, or the union lobby effort, or toward union dollars that are put toward political campaigns to squash any one against unions. This is NOT what it appears to be, there's no "stimulus" in this at all. Unions run extortion campaigns at the ugliest level!
Posted by whoRUpeople, a resident of another community, on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm
R U Kidding Me--you are right on-and I am not a member of LO either. And Sparky, what makes you think that the people working for the Fremont based contractor don't live over here, or that people working for contractors based over here don't live in Fremont or elsewhere. Come on people, this is still a free enterprize system, even if right now it is hurting.
Posted by Sparky, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm
Why would Ladera Oaks members pay area wages? Maybe because many of them own their own businesses, care about the community, and understand how local economies work. The electrical contractors I would recommend all share the same understanding and none of them are run by any “union boss”(what does that mean anyway, it’s like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence).
Try ASF Electric, Atlas-Pellizari, Cocconi Electric, Engelhart Electric, Intermountain Electric, Lynch Electric, Liberty Electric, and Palmer Electric. There are more good ones out there, these are all locally owned and operated “family” companies in San Mateo County that pay living wages no matter where they send their electricians.
Posted by palo alto paremt, a resident of another community, on Feb 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm
In this economy, I would think that charging a little less to get the job would be the norm. Assuming the electricians they hired are licensed and competent, why should anyone pay more then they need to for a service? Perhaps the union electricians should be accepting a lower rate?
Posted by Dan, a resident of another community, on Feb 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm
I have worked in both environments. I can say that in one there is constant fear of whether you will be there the next day, an aura of intimidation, and little training available. With the other there is fare pay and an environment that when you work hard, it is received with full appreciation. Which environment would you like to work in?
Posted by Paul Gutierrez, a resident of another community, on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm
God Bless the brave Union members that are standing up for the rights of the working class family. There has been an effort to destroy organized labor for years, and its shamefull. What skilled worker doesn't deserve to have medical coverage for his or her family? What American doesn't deserve the right to have a pension plan to live off of after working their whole life? Should it be up to the taxpayers to cover the costs of medical coverage, or retirement benifits for individuals who work for contractors that would rather put all the profits into their own nest egg? I can say with confidence that just because the workers are getting paid 20% less doesn't mean that the contract is 20% less than what a Union shop would have charged. Rather the difference is in whose pockets the money goes. Last, we should praise the Union contractors who's core values drive them to pay a fair wage because they care about the future of their employees and the generations to follow. Next time I hire an electrician I will make sure that they are state certified Union electrcians.
Posted by dan, a resident of another community, on Feb 7, 2009 at 12:39 am
When I worked unrepresented, they would require that I drive wherever the contractor’s job was located. Often one and a half hour there and two hours + coming back, if not more. I used to drive up to 30k miles a year. Sorry about the environmental damage everyone, but I had little choice in the matter with getting a decent meal on the table at home. An unrepresented worker has no choice but to follow the demand of the contractor, working under conditions that are forced to be accepted, and if not accepted... you are gone. Period. No chance for help, because you have no money to fight for fairness. The best thing that ever happened to me in my life was having the opportunity to work for a local union contractor. Believe me I still had to accomplish the same amount of productivity in a day, but I was not forced to drive wherever I was told, and I was treated like a respected human being by my new supervisors. Oh, I almost forgot, it sure is nice also to have a sit down 10 minute break every day and have conversations with others that are working on the same project.
Posted by Dan, a resident of another community, on Feb 7, 2009 at 7:44 am
I understand that one third of Mission Electric’s work force is untrained and uncertified by the State of California to perform electrical work. There are state laws that are in place. Mission Electric was hired to do the electrical work, so why not have all their workers trained and certified to do electrical work. Is there transparency? No.
Posted by Unions Are So Done, a resident of the Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm
Ladera Oaks fortunately has the CHOICE to do whatever it's budget has room for, and whomever it wants to do the job. Thank God for a FREE market economy! The others on this blog made the CHOICE to become electricians in either a non-union shop or a union shop, it was their CHOICE. If you don't like either, go do something else. There is absolutely, positively, NO reason for Ladera Oaks to have to pay more for something they could have done at a less expensive wage, period. For all of those that don't agree, go pay for your $5.00 latte @ Starbucks, versus a $2.00 latte @ McDonald's. Ridiculous blog.
Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community, on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:26 am
I think if anyone (Almanac?) asked the union representative exactly who they are picketing, the answer would be Mission Electric, not Ladera. To do otherwise is what is known as a Secondary Boycott, and is illegal. I've had some experience in situations such as this since my employer does award contracts based on price and ability to perform without regard to the contractor's union/non-union status. I have personally seen some unions engage in secondary boycotts and have also experienced union activity done right where the target was clearly the non-union employer/contractor. In the Almanac article, the union rep said, "if Mission starts paying union wages, the protest will stop", which tells me the picketing is targeted toward Mission. I think its unreasonable to expect a contractor to change its cost structure in the middle of a job, but thats a seperate issue. I do believe Ladera is perfectly justified in a "no comment" stance as, unless the union wants to admit to illegal activity, this has nothing what-so-ever to do with the club.
Posted by hangman, a resident of another community, on Feb 10, 2009 at 11:39 pm
Hey Joe the plumber
You're a scab and you shouldn't be hired for any contracting work. Anyone that hires you will get inferior work plain and simple. Union electricians are highly trained as well as other union tradesmen. Why are affluent country club members griping about working man wages? Maybe they should be questioned about the mega millions they are "earning".
Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community, on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm
OK Hangman, I have to challenge your comments to Joe. If I am wrong, please correct and enlighten me. My understanding--a person who aspires to be an electrician, plummer, carpenter (you pick the trade) goes through an education and training process--some may go to trade school, some may learn "on the job", some may learn at the knee of a private mentor, and, granted, some may go through a union apprentice program. End of the day, the trades person enters the work force. You're telling Joe that unless they go to work for a union shop, that until they start having those union dues deducted from their hard earned paycheck, their work is inferior? But, join the union and all of a sudden their work is just fine. Sorry, does not compute with me.
Posted by Matt Maloo, a resident of another community, on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm
I'm not sure about all this union/non-union stuff but I want to pass on something a friend pointed out to me that seems to make sense. He said that the more union membership has decreased the last 20 to 30 years, the lower the standard of living and quality of life has gotten for everyone. I think he may be right.
In my dad's generation, most families had one wage earner and that was enough to provide for a family without going into debt much except for the house mortgage.
Now, everyone in the family works as many hours as they can to provide for smaller families and to service a mountain of debt. It looks like the working class is generally working harder to get less and this trend in our country has followed the decline in unions. What's worse, it seems like people's expectations for the future of the next generation are lower all the time.
I know unions have alot of problems. But with everything that's been going on lately, it is becoming clear to me that unions are the best chance working people have going for themselves and something our country needs more of in order to get back on track.
Posted by Matt Maloo???, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm
Wow, Matt Maloo, please stay away from my business, and please do not interview for a job that involves hardcore, analytical decision making. That is the most ridiculous example of why you think Unions are good for the nation. There are about 99 other ideas, including adding a large percentage of women into the workplace, that trump that nutty idea. Good God.
Posted by Barb, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm
I think Matt's idea is worth pondering. Union busting took on a more acceptable sheen with the Reagan administration, and we've seen decreasing protections for people who want to unionize their workplace.
Why is it so preposterous to think that anti-union efforts reflect a devaluing of those decent workplace principles that unions have fought for, like 40-hour work weeks, overtime pay, vacation time, etc.? And no union representation, no protection to speak of, unless the employee has the time and wherewithal to go to court.
Posted by Think about it, a resident of the Portola Valley: Westridge neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:01 pm
This one is easy.
Unions, historically and globally, have absolutely, positively always benefited the human interest. Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho Mission Electric has got to go… or pay the area wages and benefits. What is taking so damn long to figure this out? Someone has an ego problem. That’s what I think.
Posted by John, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:59 pm
Our union electricians don't magically become brtter workers by joining the union, they become skilled competent electricians by going through a five year apprenticeship with 900 hours of classroom trainingand 8000 hours of supervised on the job training. Our electrical apprentice traing program is visited by construction trainers from around the world. Local jobs for local workers at a fair wage rate is the best stimulus package our communities can have.
Posted by Cinnamon Sacco, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm
Gentlemen, stop all of this useless UNION bashing!!!! UNION is what made this country what it is today. DEAL WITH IT. Without the brotherhood, no matter what union you belong to, we could not stand here today and say " UNITED WE STAND!" Get it together, put this country back to work and make a better future for our children.
Posted by Bookette, a resident of another community, on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm
If Mission Electric is not paying fair local wages, you can bet their workers will not have much money to spend at local businesses. I'm a litle curious about the average salary of people commenting negatively on this site. I'm sure it's MUCH higher than a union members wage. And who ever posted that they have an issue with women in the trades, I would like to know what your business is so that I too, along with Matt Maloo, can stay away from it.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Woodside: Mountain Home Road neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm
Portola Valley, why would you pay for sub-standard work on your beautiful facility and risk the chance of electricution in the shower, because that's the same thing that's happening in Irac with 9 dead due to improper grounding in the showers by unqualifed eletricians?
Posted by Simple sense, a resident of another community, on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm
Please remember our communities, the people that live here, and how these people do give back to our communities. Are you against our communities? I don’t think that you will say this publicly, although you are saying this with your actions.
Posted by No Unions!, a resident of the Menlo Park: Felton Gables neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:05 am
Steel industry.........textile industry........furniture industry..........soon the auto industry..................the list keeps growing. Thank you Unions for making sure you get the highest wages, the best benefits and continue to extort businesses across the U.S. You are the problem, no one else. If you want a high paying job, work hard, get educated and hold yourself accountable. Why do you need your "brothers" to force a higher, inflationary type wage?
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:24 am
How could you not support Unions? If so,Your opposed to all the benefits Unions have won through the years: paid vacations, sick leaves, seniority rights, wage increases, pention and insurance plans, safty laws, worker's compensation laws, social security,time and one-half for overtime for hours in excess of 8 in one day and 40 in one work week, unemployment benefits and job security. For those of you that oppose Unions, I ask you to refuse any benefits that have been won by Unions and authorize and direct your Company to withhold the amount of the Union-won benefits from your pay-check each week and donate it to charity. Any takers???
Posted by Bust Unions, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:51 am
Unions are outdated, they have been since OSHA was created. Thank God for freedom. Freedom to choose whatever service or product you want to purchase, without being told by a Union that you HAVE to choose them.(again, at an inflated price) However, if you wish, I own a 7-11, and because you chose to buy that gallon of milk for a dollar cheaper at Safeway, I'm coming over your house today to picket you, on your front lawn. It was YOUR choice.
Once again, "extortion" at it's highest level. I'm not buying it, and I'm not buying unions.
Posted by for union labor, a resident of another community, on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:07 am
You would have a problem if we were buying milk from Safeway in Fremont!! You are completely missing the point. Maybe we should start buying from everything from other countries. In fact, we should send our family memebers to work in those countries so that our wages match our spending.
We live in a place where it costs almost a million dollars to own a home and we have too many people working too hard for a wage that means they will never own a home. And lots of them have a good education!!! Union Electricians get a 5 year education that they recieve college credits for. So, I am missing your point......
Posted by The Point Is, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:13 am
FREEDOM is the point. That's my entire point. No one should be told who they have to buy from, or who they have to purchase services from, period. If non-union electricians are just as good, but cheaper, I have the FREEDOM to CHOOSE whomever I please, regardless of union/non-union/Fremont/Menlo Park etc. It sucks that "they will never own a home", but perhaps they should CHOOSE another profession, or live somewhere else, where it does not cost $1M for a home. They CHOSE to live here, they CHOSE to be a union electrician. It is not my job, nor anyone else's, to make sure they get an inflated price for something that Ladera feels they can get cheaper. That's my point. It's this exact same attitude that started this current national fiscal fiasco. Everyone deserves a home, so let's do everything we can to make sure that these hard working folks get their home, hence "zero percent down" mortgages. It's really quite simple.
Posted by palo alto paremt, a resident of another community, on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:16 am
Non-union does not mean low wages or incompetence. I have remodeled multiple homes, the electricians I use make between $45 and 90 an hour depending on their experience. They are extremely competent and pleasant to work with. Most of them own homes and nice trucks. Wit plenty of well paid work, why should they be paying union dues?
Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community, on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm
Steve-in response, my comments were not directed at the unions. I simply meant that I know, and work with, several very competent trades people who do not belong to their trade union. Whether they're equally or fairly compensated or not, I honestly don't know, but I do know they are capable and dedicated to doing a good job--all I want in an trades person. To others in this forum who seem to feel that the very important historical contributions of organized labor should trump the damage that has been caused directly by the greed and short sightedness of some (not all) of the people in control of unions, I'd like to state two opinions. One, greed and dishonesty is wrong regardless of the banner being waived out front, and, two, take a look at today's paper describing the "solution" our State leaders have come up with--1% tax increase on every dollar of that hard earned union wage you spend, 12 cents per gallon tax on the gas it takes you to get to the job site, 2 1/2% surcharge on however much state income tax you wind up paying, and two times whatever you paid for your vehicle license fee last year. My point--Ladera Oaks Swim Club, you, me, union and non-union workers-- everyone in California-- will NEED the RIGHT to save a dollar whereever they can.
Posted by dan, a resident of another community, on Feb 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm
To the point is:
Yes, you do have the FREEDOM to choose to use contractors that take advantage of the system and are cheaper. Many are breaking state laws and federal laws everyday. Now, if everyone buys into this as being OK, communities will only decline and suffer. We all know that the state and the Fed cannot watch everything, even if they had the funding. We must all be good stewards during our time on this planet and CHOOSE what is best for the people that live on it and for future generations.
Posted by Electrical girl, a resident of the Menlo Park: University Heights neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:03 am
One benefit of Unions is that they TRAIN their workforce, and Journeymen are required to be state certified. They also make sure that equipment is installed properly the first time. I don't think the same can be said of non-union companies.
Posted by Union Slug, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2009 at 12:23 pm
We Union Slugs also take breaks every hour whether we need them or not. Don't touch anything that isn't approved by the Union. And pay half our wages to Union organizations that force us to strike when we don't get 30% annual wage increases. We're productive. Just look at our success in Detroit. Go Union.
Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm
I am "shocked" by Union Slug's comments. How dare he tell the truth. Tom Gibboney needs to invoke the fairness doctrine on his blogs to ensure that the truth doesn't vanquish extreme left wing ideology.
Posted by Cinnamon, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm
Your response to Steve is well written however, being a Union wife I reap the beneifts of the so called greed and dishonesting that you claim Union represents. Without out the support of our local hall and the use of woking dues and yearly dues paid by my husband, we would not have the retirement fund, healthcare coverage for the whole family (we have 3 children), additional unemployment benifits paid for by the union if he was not a loyal member. Let me put it to you this way, the Union takes care of its own as they take care of those who support their Union.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:01 pm
The union slug sounds like a slug???
Lets go to basics:
Ca. is a right to work state. Non-union or Union every contractor can bid on city, county, state, federal gov. job by Law.In that bid they must allow for the prevaling wage for that county.
LO dosen't fall in to that catagorey,they are privetly funded. They count on the General Contractor to give them a good price.I'm not sure if LO new that Mission was not paying there employees a fair wage?
I believe this situation was caused by the general contractor.
Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of the Woodside: Emerald Hills neighborhood, on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:09 am
Unions are like a monopoly on labor. Like any monopoly, their power can be and often is abused. Private businesses should be able to hire and fire whoever they want and pay the cheapest price commensurate with getting the job done - the same way that a consumer can choose the cheapest product that satisfies his needs. That's how we get a healthy economy that in the long run will make everyone including the workers better off.
Posted by on and on, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 14, 2009 at 3:27 pm
Couple of points.
No one has to hire union people - though my experience with plumbers, electricians, etc is that I seem to get better work from the union workers. Someone mentioned the Mission Electric folks don't get benefits and another said they don't get breaks - wasn't mentioned in the article so how do you know that's the case. Just because a firm is not union doesn't mean they don't treat their workers well.
My criteria to hire - good recommendations, licensed, insurance, they bring a porta-potty for lengthy jobs, and all workers are legal(proof of US citizenship or green card).
Oh yeah - I'd love to be have a job paying 20% less than union - I lost my job four months ago.
Posted by Dan, a resident of another community, on Feb 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm
Hey union slug,
Detroit’s problems are due to white-collar mismanagement, not the dedicated workers. Remember the Ford Pinto and the Chevy Vega? The workers had nothing to do with their flawed designs and not giving proper attention to a high quality small American car?
What we have here today might just be a simple case of Social Injustice. It seems that Classism likely prevails at the Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club. A club that has shown with its action of seeking the cheapest contractor who is not paying area wages, that a healthy middle class might not be valuable to their members.
The people of our Great Nation have spoken. Enough is enough. All people need a fair chance to survive at reasonable standards. Everyone will benefit from this better plan, even the upper socioeconomic class.
Posted by GabbieGirl, a resident of the Portola Valley: Ladera neighborhood, on Feb 14, 2009 at 11:55 pm
Here's my issue with the union protest at Ladera Oaks: there isn't enough parking at LO anyway, so the protesters are creating overflow parking problems, and our main drive is crowded with huge pickups on both sides of the street, narrowing it down to about 1.5 lanes. Get them to carpool! Or get a union bus to drive them to the site. Saves gas $$ too.
Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community, on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:01 am
Cinnimon Believe it or not, I am not anti-union, though I can see how my comments may indicate otherwise. My view is that not all non-union contractors are inferior or treat their workers unfairly, and, not all labor unions represent the best interests of their workers. I would like to see a more cooperative spirit coming out of some of the labor unions at the national level as we struggle with the current economy, especially in certain industries (i.e. automobiles)
Posted by Union Slug, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Feb 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm
We'll need those extra unemployment benefits, because we're all going to be too high priced to be employed soon. I should have gold plated faucets because Im qualified to sweep floors. Im a journeyman sweeper. We should all have union toaster shops in the US so we can all pay $150 for toasters too...because only qualified journeymen electricians should be allowed to make toasters.
Yea for the rustbelt. 50% of all the auto profits should be going for retiree medical. Thats good union bargoning and crappy white collar management..the post up above is right. now GM has to declare bankrupcy and all those benefits go away anyway. no one gets anything. go union.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:20 pm
Thank You dan & WhoRUpeople,ButWRUp,You bring up fine points on a level plain. Thank You
P.S The Union picket has nothing to do with the entrance to L/O!!!
That has to do with the general contractor & L/O, They have major construction going on across the only entrance. Not the Unions Fault. Seens like poor communication between Contractor,L/O,and Members.
These entrance problems are Not caused by picketing