City Councilmember Gregg Hart is trying to get the proposed Union Only Hiring Ordinance passed before he leaves the City Council at the end of the year. We are a Santa Barbara non-union commercial building contractor, in business for over 30 years. We have many nonprofit clients including the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Museum of Natural History, Music Academy, Zoo, Search and Rescue, etc.
We also do many public works projects with the S.B. school district, S.B. City College, S.B. Housing Authority, as well as City and County of Santa Barbara. (These Public Works projects are all prevailing wage). This goes along with our many private clients.
Gregg Hart and three of his other councilmembers believe that we are not qualified to work on city projects. For them to insinuate that just because we are non-union we are not qualified is a slap in the face, especially since our company president has been asked to sit on a few different committees for the city, including one currently addressing the streamlining the permit process for State Street businesses.
Another thing Hart is trying to convince people of is that this will benefit local workers. This is a total fallacy as there are very few local union contractors. This would actually decrease the number of local workers on these projects. I think Randy Rowse had this correct when he stated that this appears to just be union payback. Also we question if this would even be legal as it would effectively take away the opportunity to work on city projects for 90 percent of the local construction workers.
Phil Orr is director of Preconstruction and Construction Mamangement for Frank Schipper Construction Company.