News

Union electricians picket Ladera Oaks club over non-union wages

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.

Fremont subcontractor Mission Electric is paying its electricians a wage 20 percent lower than what they'd pay if union electricians were doing the work, spokesman Dominic Nolan of Local 617 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers told The Almanac.

Mission Electric did not return a call requesting comment.

The picketers carry signs, shout slogans occasionally when passing cars honk their horns, and march in a circle, often around another picketer dressed in a gray and black rat costume.

If the subcontractor starts paying union rates, the protests will stop, Mr. Nolan said. The picketing tends to start at 7 a.m. and end shortly after noon.

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What about the rat? Is it a demeaning reference to non-union electricians who cross picket lines? It is not, Mr. Nolan said, adding, "It more draws attention to the protest than anything else."

As people enter and leave the club, they're offering "a lot of support," he said. "A lot of people (passing by) are honking their horns," he added.

A call to the club for a comment was not returned.

Local 617 celebrated its 100th year in 2008, Mr. Nolan said. The union is active in the community, including donating some 65 scoreboards to schools in San Mateo County.

Scoreboards at Woodside High School and Canada College, and probably the one at Menlo-Atherton High School, are courtesy of Local 617, he said.

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The union also runs a 60-year-old apprentice training program in San Carlos, where students recently built a trailer equipped with solar panels as a mobile demonstration of their craft, Mr. Nolan said.

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Union electricians picket Ladera Oaks club over non-union wages

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Feb 5, 2009, 5:19 pm

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.

Fremont subcontractor Mission Electric is paying its electricians a wage 20 percent lower than what they'd pay if union electricians were doing the work, spokesman Dominic Nolan of Local 617 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers told The Almanac.

Mission Electric did not return a call requesting comment.

The picketers carry signs, shout slogans occasionally when passing cars honk their horns, and march in a circle, often around another picketer dressed in a gray and black rat costume.

If the subcontractor starts paying union rates, the protests will stop, Mr. Nolan said. The picketing tends to start at 7 a.m. and end shortly after noon.

What about the rat? Is it a demeaning reference to non-union electricians who cross picket lines? It is not, Mr. Nolan said, adding, "It more draws attention to the protest than anything else."

As people enter and leave the club, they're offering "a lot of support," he said. "A lot of people (passing by) are honking their horns," he added.

A call to the club for a comment was not returned.

Local 617 celebrated its 100th year in 2008, Mr. Nolan said. The union is active in the community, including donating some 65 scoreboards to schools in San Mateo County.

Scoreboards at Woodside High School and Canada College, and probably the one at Menlo-Atherton High School, are courtesy of Local 617, he said.

The union also runs a 60-year-old apprentice training program in San Carlos, where students recently built a trailer equipped with solar panels as a mobile demonstration of their craft, Mr. Nolan said.

Comments

Sparky
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:34 am
Sparky, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:34 am
Like this comment

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.


susan
Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Feb 6, 2009 at 11:14 am
susan, Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Feb 6, 2009 at 11:14 am
Like this comment

That makes sense. Who are the local contractors that do pay area wages?


R U Kidding Me?
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm
R U Kidding Me?, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Like this comment

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!


whoRUpeople
another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm
whoRUpeople, another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm
Like this comment

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.


Sparky
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm
Sparky, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm
Like this comment


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.


Joanna
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm
Joanna, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm
Like this comment

I believe that any business should be able to be free to choose what to pay its workers/contractors.

Bullying businesses into paying certain wages by picketing is outdated and inappropriate.


katrina
another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:55 pm
katrina, another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:55 pm
Like this comment

I cannot afford to be a member of Ladera Oaks either, but I would think that low wages and no health care are outdates and inapropriate as well.


palo alto paremt
another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm
palo alto paremt, another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm
Like this comment

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?


Dan
another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm
Dan, another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm
Like this comment

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?


Paul Gutierrez
another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm
Paul Gutierrez, another community
on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm
Like this comment

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.


dan
another community
on Feb 7, 2009 at 12:39 am
dan, another community
on Feb 7, 2009 at 12:39 am
Like this comment

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.


Dan
another community
on Feb 7, 2009 at 7:44 am
Dan, another community
on Feb 7, 2009 at 7:44 am
Like this comment

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.


Joanna
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm
Joanna, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm
Like this comment

Whether you are for or against unions, I believe that picketing a business is a form of bullying.
Coercion is inappropriate and is a form of unfair bullying.

A business can and should be able to choose freely.


Big Al
another community
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:24 am
Big Al, another community
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:24 am
2 people like this

Hey guys, let call the whole thing off.
In fact, no more picketing please, it's scary to some of the local
residents, like Joanna, who feels "bullied.." We certainly can't have
our affluent residents frightened in any manner, it's simlply not
democratic. Please put the signs down, roll over, and go away, like
a good dog does when it's told. Don't you know that labor unions are
a thing of the past?


ALL HUMOR ASIDE: [Portion removed]
BETTER STAY INSIDE JOANNA, CAUSE THE WORLD IS HAPPENING OUT THERE!


Unions Are So Done
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm
Unions Are So Done, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm
Like this comment

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.


Joe the plumber
another community
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:02 pm
Joe the plumber, another community
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:02 pm
Like this comment

Hey Unions are so done,

Do you need any help?


Unions Are So Done
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:22 pm
Unions Are So Done, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:22 pm
Like this comment

Sure Joe The Plumber, give me your phone number, we just may need some plumbing help, as long as you've got insurance, we're willing to consider your work.


Joe the plumber
another community
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:46 pm
Joe the plumber, another community
on Feb 8, 2009 at 11:46 pm
Like this comment

Sounds good Unions are so done,

I think I'm good with the state, but I'm not local. Is that OK?


Portola Valley
Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 9, 2009 at 12:13 am
Portola Valley, Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 9, 2009 at 12:13 am
Like this comment

Any comment Ladera Oaks and Mission Electric?

We are waiting.


WhoRUpeople
another community
on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:26 am
WhoRUpeople, another community
on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:26 am
Like this comment

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.


curious
Portola Valley: Westridge
on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm
curious, Portola Valley: Westridge
on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm
Like this comment

How long will this go on? How can our communities benefit most? This economy is terrible and what is being done to benefit not only our communities but also the public as a whole?


hangman
another community
on Feb 10, 2009 at 11:39 pm
hangman, another community
on Feb 10, 2009 at 11:39 pm
Like this comment

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".


WhoRUpeople
another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm
WhoRUpeople, another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm
Like this comment

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.


Matt Maloo
another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm
Matt Maloo, another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm
Like this comment

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.


Matt Maloo
another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm
Matt Maloo, another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm
Like this comment

Oh, and my daughter thought the mouse was cute.


Matt Maloo???
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm
Matt Maloo???, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm
Like this comment

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.


Barb
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm
Barb, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm
Like this comment

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.


Think about it
Portola Valley: Westridge
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:01 pm
Think about it, Portola Valley: Westridge
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:01 pm
Like this comment

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.


John
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:59 pm
John, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:59 pm
Like this comment

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.


Cinnamon Sacco
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm
Cinnamon Sacco, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm
Like this comment

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.


Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho Mission Electric has got to go!
another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm
Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho Mission Electric has got to go!, another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm
Like this comment

Hire local union electrical contractors. Its best for the local economy.


Bookette
another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm
Bookette, another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm
Like this comment

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.


Steve
Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm
Steve, Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm
Like this comment

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?


Mark
Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:08 pm
Mark, Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:08 pm
Like this comment

I sure hope Mission electric gets it right the first time! But, then again, if they don't,they'll probaly pay there employees half the going wage so thay can make up for the mistakes in the end.


Steve
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm
Steve, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm
Like this comment

To WhoRUpeople, Unions are here to say to the No/Union worker "YOU ARE BETTER THAN WHAT YOU ARE GETTING PAID FOR". Everyone needs to feed there family,OK... If WE Stand Together Everyone Benifits!!!


Simple sense
another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm
Simple sense, another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm
Like this comment


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.


No Unions!
Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:05 am
No Unions!, Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:05 am
Like this comment

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?


Steve
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:24 am
Steve, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:24 am
Like this comment

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???


Let's at least make sense
another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:28 am
Let's at least make sense, another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:28 am
Like this comment

No unions:

Textile industry?

Are you advocating that an American worker should work for less than a dollar a day?


Steve
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:23 am
Steve, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:23 am
Like this comment

Textile, Good One. We sent our knowledge around the world and we ended up with sweat shops. Thank You NAFTA !!!


Steve
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:37 am
Steve, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:37 am
Like this comment

Typeo error; How could you not support Unions? If NOT Your opposed to all benefits...


Bust Unions
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:51 am
Bust Unions, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:51 am
Like this comment

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.


for union labor
another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:07 am
for union labor, another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:07 am
Like this comment

Bust Unions,

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.

No Unions,

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......


The Point Is
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:13 am
The Point Is, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:13 am
Like this comment

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.


palo alto paremt
another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:16 am
palo alto paremt, another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:16 am
Like this comment

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?


for union labor
another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:21 am
for union labor, another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:21 am
Like this comment

What is your honest opinion of people that do your job for cheaper?
Are you sure that they are as qualified as you are? Does your job involve public/personal safety? Is your job listed as one with one of the highest death rates because of unqualified workers?


WhoRUpeople
another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm
WhoRUpeople, another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm
Like this comment

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.


dan
another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm
dan, another community
on Feb 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm
Like this comment

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.


Electrical girl
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:03 am
Electrical girl, Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:03 am
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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.


Union Slug
Woodside: other
on Feb 13, 2009 at 12:23 pm
Union Slug, Woodside: other
on Feb 13, 2009 at 12:23 pm
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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.


Hank Lawrence
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm
Hank Lawrence, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm
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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.


Cinnamon
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm
Cinnamon, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm
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WhoRUpeople,
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.


Steve
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:01 pm
Steve, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:01 pm
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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.


Joseph E. Davis
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:09 am
Joseph E. Davis, Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:09 am
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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.


on and on
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2009 at 3:27 pm
on and on, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2009 at 3:27 pm
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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.




Dan
another community
on Feb 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm
Dan, another community
on Feb 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm
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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.


GabbieGirl
Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 14, 2009 at 11:55 pm
GabbieGirl, Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 14, 2009 at 11:55 pm
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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.


WhoRUpeople
another community
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:01 am
WhoRUpeople, another community
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:01 am
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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)


Union Slug
Menlo Park: other
on Feb 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm
Union Slug, Menlo Park: other
on Feb 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm
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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.


Electrical girl
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:22 pm
Electrical girl, Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:22 pm
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the other thing I forgot to point out was that without unions, worker's rights wouldn't be anything like they are today.
Example: the Homestead Act of 1862


Union Slug
Menlo Park: other
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:15 am
Union Slug, Menlo Park: other
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:15 am
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Thats great for 1862. Now its 2009. Instead of working in coal mines, we have Union Slugs taking smoke breaks for $80 bucks an hour. Wow...worth every penny.


Steve
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:20 pm
Steve, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:20 pm
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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


dan
another community
on Feb 18, 2009 at 10:39 pm
dan, another community
on Feb 18, 2009 at 10:39 pm
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I would like to invite Mission Electric to comment on what they are socially responsibly doing with their standard of working conditions while working in San Mateo County.


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