The Union Class

Just outside the district in which I'm running for Congress, but a city I travel everyday for my day job there is a project, the La Bahia hotel in Santa Cruz, that has been on the drawing board for years. A recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel (a MediaNews Group company) highlights a class of people who do to their membership in a Union organization feel entitled to special treatment (higher wages and benefits, etc.) by government.

In fact they do receive this special treatment as a result of "prevailing wage" laws which essentially require any publicly funded project to pay labor rates far exceeding market competitive rates. These "prevailing wage" rates are often more than twice the going rate for skilled labor. This means that the only places where Union labor can be economically successful is in government projects or where organizations have Union contracts in place which requires the use of Union labor for outside work. For the taxpayer this means that what would cost $10M in the private sector to be built can cost $20M or more as a government funded project. So the same exact school or library costs twice as much by the simple virtue of the source of funds - you. By utilizing their political clout, usually through heavy support of the Democratic Party, its candidates and others, they can influence the success or failure of private projects through the local planning process. It's nice to know that the city of Santa Cruz stood up to them in this instance, although it has taken many years for them to come to the conclusion that nothing will be done with the property otherwise as it would be economically infeasible and the existing property would sit across from the beach becoming more and more derelict. In the end Union construction labor has become a class of mostly government entitled people whose sole existence is supported only by political means bringing them higher wages and benefits based not on their competitive talents or skills, but by coercion at great expense to the taxpayer. I advocate for repeal of the Federal Davis-Bacon Act and California "prevailing wage" laws to substantially reduce government spending.