Exclusion of local jobs amendments snubs out-of-work Arizonans:
Construction jobs crisis in Arizona? Not if you ask some...
Anti-labor sentiment and indifference to the construction job market crisis in Arizona continue to make their way through the legislative session. The Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council (BTC) worked closely with Representatives Ed Ableser (D-17) and Ruben Gallego (D-16) to introduce two amendments to job-killing HB 2538, to reduce the bill's massive collateral damage to Arizona's dismal construction industry job market.
The amendments offered earlier this week would have served to better guarantee Arizona jobs for Arizona construction workers. HB2538 -
which passed Committee of the Whole on Wednesday - seeks to prohibit the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) from placing conditions on projects that encourage the use of Arizona and local workers on large energy-related projects, as well as the use of project labor agreements on public works projects. Fought against tooth-and-nail by Associated General Contractors Arizona Chapter (AGC), either of the amendments would have provided local, qualified workers the first opportunity to work on large, renewable energy construction projects in Arizona.
AGC Lobbyist David Martin vehemently opposed these amendments, as well as prior conditions approved by the ACC that would protect non-union and union workers in Arizona. Seemingly out of touch with the dire condition of the Arizona job market, Martin continues to misinform anyone who will listen and mislabel these local job concerns as a "union power grab." However, the proposed amendments supported by the BTC, as well as prior conditions stipulated by the ACC, have included both non-union and union workers.
Demonstrating the deception and misinformation being spread by the AGC, one legislator (voting against the amendments, of course) went as far to say that Arizona has to get workers from other states, as we do not have a sufficient amount of qualified construction workers currently living in Arizona. Our question for him and other like-minded lawmakers is: "What planet do you live on? "
"It is ludicrous to suggest that Arizona is short on qualified construction labor," stated Rep. Gallego. "We have tens of thousands of construction trades people who are ready, willing and qualified to work. Without protections for them, out-of-state developers and contractors will trump the needs of Arizona workers."