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Various Authors 1:03 p.m., Oct. 24
The executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, which represents non-union construction workers, will show up at the Coastal Commission hearing today to try to show how unions abuse the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to win a project labor agreement that gives them sweetheart contracts.
Unions' initial environmental complaints about expansion plans are an example, Eric Christen, head of the non-union group, says. Both the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, and UNITE HERE Local 30, which represents hotel and restaurant workers, filed numerous supposedly environmental objections to the convention center expansion project. Bingo! The unions got a project labor agreement from the contractor giving them extremely generous terms, and they dropped their objections.
This goes on all the time. "This abuse of CEQA must be exposed," says Christen. "This process is utterly corrupt through and through and is nothing more than a scam designed to enrich a few while sticking it to the vast majority of citizens, taxpayers, and workers of San Diego."
Amen, but Christen may not get a chance to tell that to the Coastal Commission, which has other fish to fry. However, Christen is right: it is important for San Diegans to know how this scam works.
The last time I talked with Christen, he said his group was about to reach a settlement. That raises questions, too.