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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Prevailing Wage Scams: Easy Fix is Killed

This is Part lll of Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions. Part ll is HERE. Part i is HERE.

In what world does a janitor get paid $48.50? In the world of California politics, driven by corrupt labor unions and greedy state agencies.

Janitorial company owner Jeff Baron is in trouble with the state of California because large general contractors who hire him as a subcontractor charge the state, the union prevailing wage rate of $48.50 per hour in their bids on public works projects, but then pay him the going rate of $10 to $15 per hour. Taxpayers are on the hook for paying $48.50 per hour for janitors on public works projects, while subcontractors like Baron’s janitorial clean up company, are paid less, and general contractors pocket the difference.

The Riverside District Attorney has had criminal charges filed against Baron for five years. They just announced they plan to bring his case to trial within… Read More

Katy Grimes

Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions: The Destroyer

This is Part ll of Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions. Part l is HERE

Janitorial company owner Jeff Baron is in trouble with the state of California because large general contractors who hire him as a subcontractor charge the state the union prevailing wage rate of $48.50 per hour in their bids on public works projects, but then refuse to pay him that rate. Taxpayers are on the hook for paying $48.50 per hour for janitors on public works projects, but in reality, subcontractors like Baron’s janitorial clean up company, are only paid the going rate of $10 to $15 per hour, and the general contractors pocket the rest.

Some say the Riverside District Attorney is going after Baron Services because it’s easier to go after small subcontractors — low-hanging fruit.

The Destroyer

In the middle of all of Jeff Baron’s troubles is… Read More

Katy Grimes

Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions

A San Bernardino janitorial contractor has always paid his employees union-approved wages. But he has been kicked off public works job sites for so-called prevailing wage violations for five years now. The kicker?

Three years ago I asked, “In what strange world do janitors get paid $45 per hour? In California, the land of the prevailing wage.” The answer today is still the same, only I will add, “In labor union-run California….” And today this janitorial prevailing wage rate is up to $48.50 per hour.

The strange and tragic case of Jeff Baron, proprietor of Baron Services, a janitorial service specializing in final clean up of big construction projects, is not complex – in fact, it’s crystal clear what’s going on. But it has become convoluted.

Another Corrupted State Agency

The crux of the issue is there is noDepartment of Industrial Relationsprevailing wage classification for this specific type of construction clean up janitorial work. Baron explained that the going rate in the private sector for a basic janitorial job is between $10 and $15 per hour. But the… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Governor Brown Signs Union-Backed Senate Bill 7 and Continues Erosion of Constitutional Checks and Balances

What’s the point of having a constitution if the government punishes The People for exercising their rights guaranteed in it?

Article XI, Section 3 of the California Constitution gives the state’s 121 charter cities the authority to govern their own municipal affairs. In recent years, city councils have proposed charters and voters have approved charters in order to circumvent costly and unnecessary state mandates imposed by the California State Legislature on local governments. Many of these mandates are pushed into state law by union lobbyists.

In 2012 the California Supreme Court upheld a right practiced by dozens of charter cities. The court ruled that charter cities could establish their own policies concerning government-mandated wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”) for public projects funded exclusively with city funds and private projects getting city financial assistance.

To stifle this little local rebellion, State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Republican Senator Anthony Cannella introduced a bill in 2013 sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. Senate Bill 7 cuts off… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Unions Tempt Republicans with “Bipartisanship” Lure: Five Tips for Resistance

Two Republicans in the California State Legislature are now voting for legislation sponsored by the state’s construction unions, following several years of unified, principled caucus resistance to such schemes. One might think that former Republican legislators Brett Granlund, Anthony Pescetti, and Ken Maddox are back from term-limited exile, in disguise.

Union leaders and lobbyists are thrilled! They can now label their costly, self-serving bills as “bipartisan” while labeling their more principled critics as “extremist.”

A Bipartisan Attack on Constitutional Rights, Local Control, and Fiscal Responsibility

Most prominent among the union-backed bills with Republican support is Senate Bill 7. This bill would withhold state funding for any of the state’s 121 charter cities that exercise their right under the state constitution to set their own government-mandated wage rate policies for purely municipal construction.

SB 7 undermines the principle of local control over local funds and the fundamental structure of constitutional federalism. It also punishes fiscally responsible cities that recognize how state-mandated… Read More

Katy Grimes

Prevailing wage scams steal from taxpayers

In what strange world do janitors get paid $45 per hour? In California, the land of the prevailing wage.

The dirty secret is that janitors often are not really getting paid $45 per hour, but the taxpayers are being charged this amount on public works projects.

Designed to help the worker, the prevailing wage was created to set a minimum hourly rate paid on all public works projects, primarily for construction workers. But the classification has been expanded and greatly abused.

One contractor’s saga

I recently met with a Southern California contractor who has owned a final construction cleanup business for more than 25 years. Final cleanup on government construction projects is always the last task in the project, and usually takes place within days of the occupants moving in, depending on the size and scope of the cleanup. The contractor said that the work he and his crews do includes cleaning the construction dust off of walls, washing and polishing floors, cleaning windows and mirrors, power-washing all surfaces, wiping down fixtures and hosing down the roof and parking lots.

He is hired as a subcontractor by large… Read More