State Building Trades Notice

State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
October 15, 2019

Governor Newsom Vetoes Three Important Prevailing Wage Bills and Affordable Housing Legislation Sponsored by the State Building Trades

This legislative session, the State Building Trades won several legislative victories including AB 5, the strongest law against worker misclassification in the nation.

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform you that Governor Newsom chose developer and charter school interests over those of Building Trades Union workers by vetoing important bills to establish prevailing wage protections for construction workers on publicly subsidized private projects on the day of the bill signing deadline. This anti-worker action by the Governor prompted the following public statement by President Robbie Hunter:

“By choosing to veto a series of bills that sought to stop profiteering developers from circumventing fair wage requirements for construction workers and requiring the payment of minimum wages in the construction of taxpayer supported public works projects, this Governor has added his voice into the chorus of politicians that disrespect the contribution of blue collar workers.

National politics provides us a cautionary tale of what happens when the working class is forgotten by candidates who are steeped in the ambitions of unrequited presidential aspirations. California could, and should, do better for workers and their families.” – Robbie Hunter, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California

After 10 months in office, the Governor and his administration have not found the time to fill an important vacancy on the OSHA appeals board or appoint a Director for the Department of Industrial Relations and a permanent Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, all of which are critically important for Building Trades members.

Below is a description of the vetoed legislation:

Public Funds for Private Projects Definition for "De-minimis" – AB 520 (Kalra)

Would have prevented developers from bypassing the prevailing wage because of the Department of Industrial Relations' interpretation of what constitutes a "de-minimis" public subsidy by providing a statutory definition (caps subsidy at $500k and 2% of project costs).

Charter School Construction Prevailing Wage - AB 1613 (O'Donnell)

Applied the prevailing wage to charter schools electing to receive tax-exempt conduit bond financing from a public agency for charter school construction projects.

Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program - SB 5 (Beall)

Provided up to $2 billion annually for local governments to assist with the development of affordable housing, infill development, planning for the effects of climate change, and improving the quality of life in disadvantaged communities. The projects will be covered by the skilled and trained workforce and prevailing wage requirements.


These vetoes will not deter the State Building Trades from bringing these proposals back to the Governor’s desk next year.

We thank our affiliates, local Building Trades Councils and District Councils for your active participation that allows us to accomplish the Building Trades’ legislative agenda.

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