City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

February 1, 2012
Measure to outlaw labor agreements on projects fails to qualify for ballot

A proposed June ballot measure that would have prohibited the city of Sacramento from requiring labor organization agreements on publicly-funded construction projects has failed to gather enough signatures.

Sacramento County elections officials ruled today that 62 percent of the signatures it inspected from proponents of the Fair and Open Competition Sacramento measure were valid. Another 19 percent of signatures were from people not registered to vote and 7.5 percent were from voters registered outside of the city.

Supporters of the measure handed in 46,692 signatures to the City Clerk - far more than the 32,207 required to place the measure on the ballot. But the group fell well short of providing enough valid signatures, officials ruled.

Local unions and the Democratic Party had been gearing up to fight the measure, which would have outlawed what are called project labor agreements (PLAs). Similar measures have been approved in Placer County and San Diego County.

Eric Christen, who led the measure's campaign, said his group faced "a concerted union effort to harass and intimidate signature gatherers and citizens." And he criticized state legislators for passing SB 922, which prohibits cities and counties from enacting all-out bans on PLAs.

"This last minute gut-and-amend bill actually sought to penalize the citizens of Sacramento by threatening to withhold state construction funds should our ban on discriminatory Project Labor Agreements pass, as it has overwhelmingly in all the entities where it has made the ballot," Christen said in a statement.

He added his group is discussing bringing the issue back to Sacramento.

"Taxpayers in this great city deserve to have projects like the new arena built at the best price and with all workers having a chance to work regardless of their union affiliation," he said.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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