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Supervisors approve ballot measure to ban pre-bid deals with labor unions

SAN DIEGO - A recommendation by North County Supervisor Bill Horn led to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors issuing its final approval today for a November ballot measure for changing the county charter to ban pre-bid deals with labor unions for taxpayer-supported projects.

Voters will decide on Nov. 2 whether to outlaw so-called project labor agreements, or PLAs. Such bans have already been instituted by voters in Chula Vista and Oceanside.

PLAs, negotiated with unions, set standards on wages, health benefits and hiring of local workers in exchange for labor peace and timely completion of public projects.

Opponents of PLAs claim they squeeze nonunion businesses out of the bidding process and inflate the costs.

The idea behind codifying the change in the county charter is to prevent future board members from reversing a PLA ban by ordinance without a public vote.

The key section of the ballot language states:

"Except as required by state or federal law as a contracting or procurement obligation, or as a condition of the receipt of state or federal funds, the county shall not require a contractor on a construction project to execute or otherwise become a party to a project labor agreement as a condition of bidding, negotiating, awarding or performing of a contract."

The amendment would not prevent firms from entering PLAs, but it would ban them as a requirement.

Supervisor Greg Cox asked the clerk to note his opposition to the ballot measure, which was passed as part of the consent agenda.

The supervisors also certified the results of the June primary election.

The results set up November runoffs between incumbent supervisor Ron Roberts, who faces communications specialist Stephen Whitburn, and between incumbent Supervisor Bill Horn, who faces Vista City Councilman Steve Gronke.

David Butler, appointed to complete a term as assessor/recorder/county clerk, will take on Ernest J. Dronenburg, a former state tax official.


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