City eyes labor pact for train station project in Fairfield

By From page A3 | April 12, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A project labor agreement that a critic says could add $12.2 million to the cost of planned train station development goes before the City Council for discussion Tuesday with Councilman John Mraz saying the pact may allow Fairfield to avoid cost overruns and quality problems that affect other projects.

“I want this project to come in on time and on budget,” Mraz said of the train station development near Peabody and Vanden roads. “I’d like to make sure it gets done right.”

That wasn’t how it went with Fire Station No. 1 in Fairfield, the department headquarters, or the Solano County Government Center, the city councilman said.

A project labor agreement, described in a city staff report as a pact with one or more labor organizations establishing terms and conditions of employment for a construction project, may avoid problems, Mraz said.

But Nicole Goehring, government affairs director for the Associated Builders and Contractors Northern California, a nonprofit construction trade association, said Fairfield has never used a PLA and that the agreement could boost the train station project cost by $12.2 million.

“I just don’t see a justification for doing this,” Goehring said.

“It’s typically not about common sense,” she said of the pacts. “It’s typically about pressure from special interests.”

The Fairfield city staff asks the council to provide direction on whether to negotiate a project labor agreement with the Napa-Solano Building Trades Council for the train station project.

Mraz noted volunteer work undertaken by the building trades to assist older Fairfield residents with repairs on their homes. That came after he put out a call for contractors to help seniors, the councilman said.

He didn’t see anybody from the Associated Builders and Contractors Northern California, he said.

Goehring said she never received a request for assistance.

“We would absolutely be willing to help,” she said.

Fairfield City Council members meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chamber across from City Hall, 1000 Webster St.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 10 comments

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  • CD BrooksApril 12, 2014 - 6:24 am

    This council considers this council does. We know they're not interested in what we think and now they will continue planning PLUS adding-on at least $12 mil more to this very contentious project. November can't get here quickly enough.

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  • The MisterApril 12, 2014 - 7:48 am

    Sounds very much like a pay-off... or extortion. No one said Agenda 21 was going to be cheap. I'm sure Diamond Jim Spering will be glad to see this development moving forward... helps increase the value of the land he owns next to this train station.

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  • BobApril 12, 2014 - 8:41 am

    Dang, Jim is one slick playa huh? Same play he made in Suisun City and nobody made mention of it then Who's he paying off?

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  • General Fadi BasemApril 12, 2014 - 6:39 pm

    It was clever of Mraz to change the topic from $12 million of increased costs to the topic of volunteer work. And then shame on Goehring for taking his bait. No doubt in my mind where the Council members are going with this. Doesn't every politician vote with their wallet? We don't need this train station, and we don't need to pay $12 million more on top of the amount we don't want to spend on a train station we don't need and don't want.

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  • Rick WoodApril 13, 2014 - 11:08 pm

    The County center had a PLA. Is that a misquote, or did Mraz really say that?

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  • Rick WoodApril 13, 2014 - 11:24 pm

    I have no problem with PLAs as long as they are designed by the agency paying for the project and not imposed by the construction trades. If a project is going to cost more, we should have open eyes as to why and whether it's for a good with which we can all agree. Let Fairfield design its own PLA to ensure workers get fair treatment and that the project will benefit local workers. I don't mind paying for that. I do mind paying for the construction trade's campaign to drive non-union contractors out of business, or at least out of Fairfield. If a non-union contractor can meet the high standards the City demands in ITS PLA, he/she should have a fair shot at the work. Typically, a union-designed PLA doesn't allow that.

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  • http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RussianNamingConventionApril 13, 2014 - 11:35 pm

    Extra for Experts... Russian Naming Conventions... Good Night.....

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  • Troy GarlandApril 15, 2014 - 2:00 pm

    The Downtown Government Center was built using a PLA. The project was on time and on budget, which is rare for any project these days! I would certainly support a PLA again.

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  • Rick WoodApril 15, 2014 - 8:03 pm

    Right. That's what I thought. So who's wrong, Mraz or McCarthy?

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  • General Fadi BasemApril 15, 2014 - 2:12 pm

    Don't need a train station, don't want a train station, and darn sure don't want to pay for YOUR train station.

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