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Lawsuit Filed to Protect Jobs for Local Residents

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 17, 2021                           CONTACT: Gretchen Newsom, 619-208-4853,

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Jobs for Local Residents

IID Board Being Sued for Attempting to Rewrite History

IMPERIAL, CA – A lawsuit has been filed against the Imperial Irrigation District for obstructing an approved legal document that creates jobs for local residents.

After a year of negotiations, the IID Board of Directors voted by a 3-2 margin at a public meeting to approve Project Labor Agreements on District construction projects.  The Project Labor Agreements were subsequently executed by representatives of the District and labor organizations and became legally binding contracts.

Following a change in Board membership, however, the new Board of Directors attempted to rewrite history.  During a closed session of a special meeting, the new Board declared that the Project Labor Agreements were never approved. 

A lawsuit has been filed to uphold the legally binding Project Labor Agreements, and declarations have been submitted by former and current IID board members attesting to the fact that the Project Labor Agreements were properly approved.  

“We are seeking a declaratory judgment that the District is bound by the Project Labor Agreements and will continue to partner with our unions to create good local construction jobs and apprenticeship opportunities,” said Arkie Mayes, Business Manager of the Imperial County Building and Construction Trades Council. “The Imperial Irrigation District has successfully used PLAs in the past to build stronger communities and invest public funds back in the local community with good local wages – the Board should not break promises or backtrack on legal labor agreements.”

“The new IID Board cannot re-write history and rob communities of opportunities for family-supporting jobs,” said Bill Perez, Business Manager of the San Bernardino/Riverside Building and Construction Trades Council. “Unions worked with IID to ensure that these agreements would provide community benefits, like local hiring and apprenticeship opportunities, and outreach to veterans and disadvantaged workers who reside within the district’s jurisdiction. We have the new IID Board turn its back on our communities or obstruct facts.”


Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) enable local hiring and help manage complex construction projects efficiently. PLAs are a type of workforce contract used in the public and private sectors.

They establish the terms and conditions for employees working on the project and set goals for hiring local workers, securing local business participation, and creating career opportunities for entry-level workers. These agreements maximize the return on local investments by employing good contracting principles of certainty, transparency, and accountability.

The Imperial and San Bernardino – Riverside Building and Construction Trades Councils represent 25,325 construction workers and 48 affiliate unions, and seek to improve the health, jobs safety and economic conditions of the members of its affiliates, and of all working men and women in the construction industry by all lawful means.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found at: