Coastal Post Online


November 2000

Electricians Forced To Charge More

The Davis-Bacon act requires that a Prevailing wage rate for each type of contractor be paid to employees working on jobs funded by public(yours and mine) monies. Several years back the set rate for my business' classification was contested and proved to be way out of line through polling of contractors in the county. It was corrected to $14.50 per hour. Shortly after our Governor took office the facts were thrown out the window and we have seen two increases raising the rate to $36.27.

Now Assembly Bill 921 and 931 are requiring that as of January of 2001 anyone wanting to become an electrician will have to go through one of three State Approved Indentured Apprenticeship (read Union) Programs, have a high school diploma, and must have completed at least one semester of high school or college algebra. Also, it is required that these apprentices be paid the Prevailing wage rate on all public and PRIVATE work.

This means that in addition to the current laws that have caused tremendous cost increases to the construction of new schools and other public projects you will get to pay a great deal more to have electrical work done in your home or business.

Our Governor and his cronies seem to have little concern for the number of poor and minority individuals who could have gone into a trade to support themselves and their families who will be locked out because of a lack of higher math skills or a diploma or transportation to one of only three schools in the entire state.

We have been training our own employees very effectively for fifty-six years through factory schools and on-the-job training. Now, as of January 1, 2001 it will be illegal for us to do so.

And what non-union employer is going to be able to pay his apprentices more than his journeymen? This is an obvious and very serious attempt to put non-union shops out of business.

How many hard working electricians who are currently employed are going to find themselves out of work by the end of next year because they cannot meet the new requirements thrown at them by an uncaring government? Doesn't this constitute an ex-post-facto law when the new requirements also apply to the electricians already in the field?

And how many people will lose their homes and yes, even their lives, because they cannot afford an electrician?

Several months back I received a questionnaire requesting information to improve electrical contractor licensing. This is the result. Since then I have received new questionnaires from the state regarding other license classifications and other contractors who I know have received questionnaires relating to their trades. Obviously, the requirements are being rewritten to favor Unions in all trades.

I am sure that everyone will be told that these actions are only to improve the trades but it is obvious that that is only a tactic to disguise the forced unionization of our state by our elected officials. If this trend is allowed to continue you can expect to pay rates that are double or triple what you pay now for plumbing work or roofing work or a carpenter or any of the trades. This may not be a problem to those in the Silicon Valley but please take into account the depressed economies of the San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento Delta and the northern part of our state.

Our Governor, who is supposed to be looking out for the people in our state, is thumbing his nose at the elderly who are living on fixed incomes and just getting by as it is.

Now please don't get me wrong. There are many unions operating in our state now and I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is our state government forcing us to go union or go out of business. It constitutes a restraint of trade and stifles competition in the workplace.

This will have an immediate damping effect on new construction and remodel work and will lead to a high rate of inflation and recession in the state. But by then the union bosses will have already sucked millions of new dollars out of the state economy and our pockets.

Who benefits most from these actions? The unions, who will have more money to pay for politicians. The politicians, who will receive the money because they are willing to vote for more laws that will force more people into the unions. And the unlicensed contractors, because many people will not be able to afford licensed contractors so they will turn to someone they can afford regardless of the contractor's competency.

Keep informed because these are only three examples of the many shameless uses of our money to pay back political debts. Please send me any additional examples of these actions that you are aware of. And if anyone out there knows of any current laws that prohibit these political paybacks please advise me of them.

And most of all, make yourself heard by our lawmakers and at the polls. Vote for individuals who will block our Governor's attempt to unionize the state and tell your representatives that you want AB921 and AB931 repealed. This is your state although it now looks like it has been bought and paid for by the union bosses.

Let our Governor pay his political debts out of his own pocket!

Randall D. Gray

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