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Watsonville City Council: Projects over $600,000 to require union agreement
By Donna Jones-Santa Cruz Sentinel
WATSONVILLE -- Watsonville will be the first city in the Monterey Bay with a union-friendly ordinance governing public works projects.
The ordinance, approved on a 5-1 vote Tuesday, will require what's known as a union-negotiated project labor agreement, or PLA, on public works projects costing more than $600,000.
The decision came after the council heard from numerous speakers, for and against the proposal.
Backers said the ordinance would increase opportunities for local residents, especially in regard to apprenticeships.
Opponents argued it would narrow the bidding process, and put nonunion contractors and workers at a disadvantage.
Nicole Goehring, government affairs director for the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., called the ordinance "exclusionary," and urged the council to reject it.
"We have members who have workers that live in the city," she said. "We're for increasing work opportunities for all people."
Union representatives, who vastly outnumbered opponents at the meeting, said their organizations were the ones that could ensure opportunities for local workers.
Andy Hartman, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 234, had several of the union's apprentices stand up. He said the apprentices work 40-hour weeks and attend school two nights a week for five years to earn their journeyman status.
"This is the future workforce here," he said. "That's what we need to encourage."
Read the full article at goo.gl/OeekB2
For Daniel Gilbertson, learning a trade opens doors
By Jondi Gumz-Santa Cruz Sentinel
SANTA CRUZ -- At a time when college costs are escalating, student debt is burdensome and fewer good-paying jobs are open to young people with a baccalaureate degree, Daniel Gilbertson stands out.
A Santa Cruz native, Gilbertson says he didn't have the chance to go to college after high school. He enjoyed being outside so he worked for his father-in-law in construction.
Today, at 27, he makes nearly $87,000 a year and foresees a favorable future.
"I make more than all of my friends, and some are college grads," he said. "And I have zero school debt."
His secret to success: a five-year apprenticeship through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 234.
Read the full article at goo.gl/6B1Mm4
Charged up in San Juan; San Benito gets first electric car charging station
By Kollin Kosmicki
San Juan leaders felt an electrical charge of excitement Friday.
That's because they dedicated the county's first electric charging station for vehicles a day after they activated the machine on Muckelemi Street at the corner of Abbe Park.
The project is a partnership among the Mission City, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, the Monterey Bay Regional Air Pollution District and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
San Juan Bautista City Council members late last year agreed to the idea funded through a $25,000 grant from the air district, distributed through AMBAG. It is one of four electric vehicle charging stations in the three-county air district. The others are in Salinas and Carmel, with another being activated soon in Watsonville.
"Basically, it's going to be serving the region of the air district," said Andy Hartmann with the IBEW Local 234.
Hartmann was in attendance, along with AMBAG planner Anais Schenk and San Juan city officials.
Scotts Valley looks into adding third electric vehicle charging station at library
By KIMBERLY WHITE - Santa Cruz Sentinel
SCOTTS VALLEY - The Scotts Valley library may be going even more high-tech. Soon, patrons could be playing a video game on its Wii gaming wall, or scanning community event listings in the media center, while waiting for their cars to charge.
At Wednesday's City Council meeting, city leaders directed staff to continue looking into the possibility of installing an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot of the library on Kings Village Road.
If approved, it would be one of seven grant-funded projects scattered through Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties.
The city actually already has two other charging stations, one at Zero Motorcycles on Technology Circle, and another that recently opened at Walgreens on Mount Hermon Road. But Corrie Kates, the city's community development director and deputy city manager, did not have any data on how often those stations are being used.
After Kates's presentation, Vice Mayor Randy Johnson acknowledged that car battery technology "has not quite caught up with the hopes and aspirations of auto makers" or the government. But the city should prepare now for what he called a "paradigm of the future," since mass production will eventually make electric vehicles affordable to the average buyer.
"What we're trying to accomplish is to create the infrastructure that will support electrical vehicles, so if charging stations are out there, that'll give people more confidence" to buy them, Andy Hartmann - a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who wrote the grant - said ahead of the meeting.
Read the full article at goo.gl/tzHRa
Monterey switches street lights to LED
By LARRY PARSONS - Herald Staff Writer
Monterey's nightscape is in the midst of a luminous makeover.
A city-hired contractor this week started replacing every street light and tunnel light in the city — about 1,900 lights in all — with new energy-saving fixtures.
The project, scheduled to be completed by March, is substituting new light emitting diode, or LED, fixtures for existing high-pressure sodium street lights.
The new lights consume about 40 percent less energy, and their installation will allow Monterey to comply with a state law requiring the reduction of municipal greenhouse gas emissions, city officials say.
The switchover started with lights along the Recreation Trail, and crews were working Friday in the Fisherman's Flats neighborhood.
"They are doing about 300 a day," said Richard Llantero, a city engineer.
Read the full article at goo.gl/Tb0Sa
GREEN EXAMPLE: Electricians' union hall gets LEED certification
By LANE WALLACE
Herald Staff Writer
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 234 doesn't just teach electricians about green building practices — the union has made its offices on Merritt Street in Castroville an example.
"We're the first IBEW building to get a LEED certification," said Andy Hartmann, the local's business representative.
LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is the most recognized standard for green technology. The union went for, and qualified for gold status, the second highest rating possible.
Read the full article at bit.ly/gCZveL
Solar installation will offset tons of emissions, but local electricians take a hit.
By Robin Urevich
Abrand new array of solar panels designed to generate 1.7 million megawatts of power at the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Authority’s Marina headquarters is getting a less than sunny reception from local union electricians.
The project should generate enough energy to treat irrigation water for 12,000 nearby acres of strawberry, artichoke and broccoli fields. But union labor isn’t part of the specs.
That didn’t sit well with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 234, where unemployment hovers around 20 percent.
Read the full article at bit.ly/8YqOl7
Local electricians plug into the sun.
By Kera Abraham
Eco-energy was electric in Castroville last weekend, when a labor union’s parking lot doubled as a solar tech training lab.
During the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Nov. 7-8 “Solar Power Road Show,” IBEW’s Los Angeles chapter taught more than 100 local electricians how to install rooftop photovoltaic systems, avoid hazards with solar wiring and use a hand-held “solar eye” to map a site’s sun exposure throughout the year, among other skills.
“Electrical is a huge and intricate part of the green movement,” says Paul Gutierrez, director of industry development for IBEW Local 234. “We’re taking a hit as much as everyone else in the construction industry, but if everyone were to take advantage of the sun’s energy and step back from foreign oil, it would create thousands of jobs.”
Read the full article at The Monterey County Weekly