Critic: Fairfield labor pact backers will be held accountable

By From page A1 | July 24, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A critic of a project labor agreement passed unanimously by the Fairfield City Council says “those who voted for this backroom deal, especially any council member registered as a Republican, will be held accountable to the taxpayers.”

“I’m not going to let this bone go,” said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction.

He also said six contractors would have bid on the Intermodal Station Project, but decided against doing so because of the labor agreement.

Christen and other opponents of the pacts contend they boost project costs. The train station project is estimated to cost $30 million to $40 million.

David White, city manager for Fairfield, said of the agreement: “Nothing about this was done in a back room.” The labor pact was reviewed in an open, public meeting, he said.

Mayor Harry Price, who lists his party as Republican on city papers he took out for re-election, could not be reached Wednesday for comment. He participated by telephone from Hawaii in Tuesday’s council meeting, postponed from its regularly scheduled meeting last week.

Councilwoman Catherine Moy said Wednesday that, “making decisions on controversial issues is not for the faint of heart.”

“I ask myself, ‘Is this what is right for the city, for our taxpayers, workers and the city as a whole?’ ” she said. “In this case, the council unanimously agreed that the PLA was the best route.”

“The City Council is nonpartisan,” Moy said. “As for threats against any of us for making a decision, I find that disturbing. It is something we deal with. I’ve had physical threats against me for decisions. Whether the threat is political or physical, it is shameful.”

Councilman John Mraz said of Christen’s statements that if the advocates of the labor agreement had lost, “you wouldn’t hear them whining like this.”

“You just don’t run around throwing these bombs and expect somebody to respect you,” Mraz said.

Christen said for Moy to equate a physical threat with a promise to hold people accountable for their votes suggests “she’s in the wrong business.”

He asked whether unions hold people who oppose them politically accountable.

Christen also questioned whether the labor agreement would provide local workers with jobs and said the document includes no requirement for local hires – and no consequence for not achieving a stated 25 percent goal.

“This political document was brought to the council by local trade unions and the council placed the needs of this special interest over workers and taxpayers,” Christen said. “They should have the temerity to at least admit it and quit hiding behind ‘local hire.’ It’s embarrassing.”

Christen took issue as well with the Fairfield city staff for what he said was its assertion that only union companies would bid the train station project. He asked if the staff contacted three of the biggest electrical contractors in America – Rex Moore, Bergelectric and Helix Electric – to be told that they would not be interested in bidding this job.

George Hicks, public works director, said the project includes electrical work but that general engineering companies would bid on the job. The city does not contact companies about projects that will go out to bid, he said.

Hicks said local hiring has to be stated as a goal in the labor agreement because the law doesn’t allow hiring people based upon their place of residence.

Christen said that’s his point about problems with the labor pacts – supporters cite project labor agreements as providing local jobs but the agreements can’t require such hiring.

“It’s like they don’t check their notes,” Christen said of labor agreement supporters.

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

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 11 comments

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  • NeilJuly 23, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    YOU LIE Christen

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  • Joseph D. JoyceJuly 24, 2014 - 1:16 am

    No surprise Price wasn't available for comment... He's so evasive, tired Schmuck!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • tsk tskJuly 24, 2014 - 8:20 am

    Name calling is not very professional

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Part of the solutionJuly 24, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Grow up and quit being abusive. If you have a problem with the mayor, deal with it like an adult.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BobJuly 24, 2014 - 6:19 am

    The republicans have been crying for years that they can't get votes. This is why. These workers are not happy with Obama, and as far as I've heard are really not happy at Hillary running, yet you Republicans can't see this opportunity to get voters, that also goes for the tea party, don't you remember all the hard hat marches against the liberals? THIS is not the way to win voters that you need to beat Hillary! Just keep up the old ways by listening to the ABC contractors with the direct line to illegals to use for workers, been there seen that. The Construction Unions thoughts on how this country should be run are much closer to George Bushes then Obamas, they hunt, shoot, against gun control. Republicans and tea party want help? Go to the real patriots!

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  • RodJuly 24, 2014 - 6:26 am

    As if this Mr. Christen wants to turn the city council over to the Democrats . Oh yea that will help his cause to get the Unions out of business . Who does he think the Union Thugs support. All he would need to check is SEIU wish list. I doubt that the Republicans made that cut.

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  • CL WilsonJuly 24, 2014 - 7:53 am

    Why do we need this station in the first place? Was this union agreement made to try to get the local people on board with this station idea? What was so wrong with the Suisun Station that is already there?

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  • Anne GriffinJuly 24, 2014 - 11:00 am

    Another case of union strong-arming that goes on whenever taxpayers' money is being used to build projects. Remember, the FSUSD (School District) Measure C projects were all built without project labor agreements (despite heavy pressure from unions). All of the school district projects came in on time and under budget! Not so with the County Government Center. As I remember, the original cost was to be under $90 million, but the final cost was over $114 million. The unions were "less than polite" to school board members who voted against the agreement.

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  • AlfJuly 24, 2014 - 8:33 pm

    I think Ms. Moy is overreacting, again.

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  • Eric ChristenJuly 25, 2014 - 7:08 am

    Moy is clearly not fit for this office if her reaction to my promise to hold her publicly accountable is somehow equated to being threatened. She and the rest of the council have violated their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Fairfield and need to be replaced by those who will treat all citizens equally.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Matt HeaveyJuly 28, 2014 - 3:18 pm

    Pretzel logic and lies, that's what govment is about now--crownyism. like the great uniter--mr. hope and change, mr. forward. yes forward into the abyss. how sad that all the demorats and many repulicrats have ceded to the "by any means necessary crowd". now they're all one and the same. we have a very sick society with an out of control government, one the mirror image of the other.

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