Urges fellow legislators to vote "no" on SB 829, uphold state constitution against "all enemies, foreign and domestic, including labor unions"
SACRAMENTO - Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) engaged in a heated debate on the Assembly floor today as lawmakers discussed the merits of Senate Bill 829. The bill, authored by Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield), would dramatically restrict the operations of charter cities like Bakersfield, Shafter and Ridgecrest by barring their use of state funds for public projects if the city limits the utilization of project labor agreements.
"This bill strikes at the very heart of local control, local government, free markets, and fair competition, " said Assemblywoman Shannon Grove. "The government closest to the people is best suited to govern the people, and for the state legislature to interfere is just completely unacceptable."
Many charter cities have elected to ban project labor agreements, which drive up cities' costs for the construction of public projects like roads and municipal buildings. Under a project labor agreement, before any workers are hired for construction on a project, labor organizations negotiate to determine the wage rates and benefits for all employees working on that particular project, often leading to wages paid at above-market value. The California Constitution provides that charter cities have the power to control their local affairs, including the ability to ban such project labor agreements.
Grove likened voting for the bill to a "violation of the state Constitution and a violation to the citizens of California," because under the California Constitution charter cities are allowed to govern themselves.
"All of us in this body raised our right hand and swore to defend the Constitutions of the United States and California. We took an oath. Some of us take that oath very seriously and do not trample on the Constitution. Some in the majority party only uphold that oath when the labor unions allow them to," said Grove.
Senate Bill 829 is supported by over fifty union organizations and opposed by the League of California Cities, which represents all of the state's four hundred and twenty cities. The bill passed out of the Assembly on a party-line vote with no Republican support.