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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Huge Concord project blows up over union labor agreement

Uploaded: Apr 23, 2020
With COVID-19 dominating the news cycle, it was easy to miss a very significant story out of Concord last month.
The Concord City Council, in a 3-2 vote, ended negotiations with the Lennar Corp. over the developers’ plans to develop the former Concord Naval Weapons Station site on the northside of the city. Lennar had put together a plan for up to 13,000 homes and six million square feet of commercial space in what was estimated to be a $5 billion project.
The sticking point was a project labor agreement with the Contra Costa Building Trades Council that would determine how many union members are used on the job. The council and Lennar negotiated for two years, but were deadlocked.
Lennar leaders told the council that they could not afford an all-union worksite. The split council vote let the exclusive negotiating agreement with Lennar lapse March 31. Earlier San Francisco Business Times articles said that Lennar already had invested three years and $15 million in planning for the 2,327-acre site. Plans included the homes, commercial space and 2.3 million square feet for a college campus.
It’s now back to square one for the city, which has been working on uses for the land since the Navy declared it surplus in 2005 and the city was named the reuse authority in 2006. That’s a stiff price to pay to ensure union jobs, but sadly not surprising in Northern California given our Democrat-dominated politics.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors took a wise step last month when it authorized advance payments to community-based organizations to help them deal with the financial impact of COVID-19.
Many have had to limit or shutter their basic services because of the shelter-in-place order and cash flow from operations has dried up. It’s critical to keep their functioning because some, such as Axis Community Health, provide lifeline health services.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Bill, a resident of Pleasanton Heights,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Guess they don't really want to develop that land then. Fine. Someone else will. I've watched this play out over 50 years in California. It all gets built. Lennar could have made a profit if they wanted to do it. They'll do something else now, and another company will do it.

I totally back the NON-public employee unions. And unless you really think cities in the third world are just beautiful, you should back them as well. Time to slaughter some hogs.

Posted by Dewey, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 7:42 am

Dewey is a registered user.

Union's have been a vital part of northern California for a very long time. That said, they (Union Leadership) have at times overstepped their rolls by demanding too much. It is a mixed bag between union power and developers' rights to have a union-free job site. There is a compromise somewhere in the middle. I was a union member for many years and found them to be very controlling of both the membership and the employers. Once I was told by the union if I did vote for a democrat for president I could not work on a union job anymore. Those days of union control are over but still, it shows that unions can be overbearing. Let's hope the project will get off the ground thus providing jobs for many companies and workers. It can't be all one-sided.

Posted by Median Joe, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 7:47 am

Median Joe is a registered user.

Project Labor agreement protect the enduser by assuring a baseline skill level for craft workers.
Also protects the community by assuring workers are paid a living wage.

Posted by sjd, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 9:27 am

I'll note that there was already a labor agreement, just not one that covered every job.

And it's a real shame, as the result is fewer jobs during an economic recovery and fewer homes near jobs.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 3:40 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

"Let's make homes more expensive by using labor union labor."

Said every Democrat in California.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 7:45 pm


Did you mean to say: “Once I was told by the union if I did vote for a democrat for president I could not work on a union job anymore." In the past, the Democrats cozied up to the unions, maybe not so much now because they have become elitist and subservient to Wall Street.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 8:13 pm

I retired from the chemical industry 2005. Soon after I retired, I was recruited to a management position for a chemical manufacturing company. I remained in that position Until January 2011.

I was absolutely disgusted and appalled with the petty BS grievances that arrived on my desk on a daily basis. The intelligent quotient of those filing grievances were that of an eight year old.

The grievances consisted of wanting to go to the bathroom, to not having enough time for lunch, although union leadership signed off on and agreed to thirty minute lunch breaks, twenty minute breaks twice daily for eight hour shift.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 27, 2020 at 9:47 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Once OSHA was formed, Unions became unnecessary, especially Federal Employee Unions.

Eliminate them all.

Posted by Arroyo2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 27, 2020 at 1:33 pm

As long as the Democrats control the Legislature in Sacramento, we are stuck with bloated Union Labor demands. Unions dictate rather than negotiate. Larger union wages = greater campaign contributions for the Democratic Party. SEIU, Teachers Unions, Teamsters, AFL-CIO, Building Trades Unions, etc. etc.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 28, 2020 at 8:24 am


hmmmmmmmmmm.....i just don't understand why so many simple folks are against my my

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 28, 2020 at 8:32 am

Many years ago I knew individuals who worked at a site that sold baked ham and honey was burned onto the ham with torches. The workers were NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE TOILET BREAKS. I advised them to quit their jobs, they were given time off by the docs to relax, and toua focus on finding another job, etc.

If you're unhappy with a Union, take a leap into your private cesspool...i rest my case...tee hee

Posted by Union -Yes, a resident of Val Vista,
on Apr 28, 2020 at 11:08 am

Union wages let workers live in or near the communities where they work. The bay area elite would prefer the workers live somewhere else because they don't want to live next door to a lowlife construction worker. (FYA- it is possible to get a full fledged college degree just as good as yours thru an apprentice program.

Don't believe me ,contact any United Association Plumber's & Steamfitter's local union)

Home prices do not have to rise when using union labor. Builders just need to accept lower profits. Call it sharing the wealth.

Find out where the owners of non-union construction companies live as compared to where their employees live.

Posted by sjd, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 28, 2020 at 2:37 pm

Look, I understand where unions can and have been useful - the Amazon situation being a key one.

But "Builders just need to accept lower profits."
That's just not how this works. Unions doing one-off project demands is not going to force lower profit demands, it will just delay projects until a certain market condition will result in housing costs high enough.

You want to actually share the wealth, you need to do it at a much higher level than making a flimsy CEQA objection to one project at a time.

Posted by skylanorah, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Apr 29, 2020 at 10:38 pm

TelltheBell is a feedback forum of Taco Bell in which they give their customers a portal to share their genuine reviews with the company. The feedback needs to be completely genuine. And the specialty of this survey is that they give a chance to their participants to win a cash prize of almost $500 in a cheque. Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 30, 2020 at 11:07 am

I'm all for profit but it's 2020 and multi-millions of Americans are out of work with not much hope to work again...soon.

Fortunately, there are millions and millions of concerned Americans with the goal of helping fellow Americans. We are all witnessing what it truly means to be AMERICAN! Most Americans are NOT DRIVEN BY GREED/PROFIT.

The housing ear healthy findustry will survive. I strongly support affordable housing with the goal of placing homeless people in shelters where they can receive shelter, medical care, and healthy food. There are also thousands and thousands of homeless children who also need medical and psychiatric care, safe housing, and food.

I strongly support meeting the needs of poor and working class children and families.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 30, 2020 at 11:09 am

Correction: The housing industry will survive.

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