Count me among the majority of people who believe that labor unions are ultimately destructive to the American economy. I have little doubt that environmental extortion being accused in this report is in fact happening and I would further speculate that Trades Council officials would not only admit to it off the record but do so happily.
The use of environmental laws to forestall development is not unprecedented and only serves to underscore how perverse the complex web of environmental regulation has become in California where desired projects, housing, that have met review requirements could be threatened at any point by any organization with an agenda not driven by environmental concern. It is just one of the many reasons why the building cost per square foot is so high in the Bay Area relative to other parts of the country.
Spiers should pull the plug on this development unless the City steps in to fight for the integrity of the overarching system but being as how this is SF and a labor union is involved, I can’t see any scenario where that would happen… meanwhile jobs that could be created are stalled and tax revenue from property and construction activity is lost.
He contends the appeal on environmental grounds is a strong-arm tactic to get him to agree to have the project done exclusively with union labor. (Documents show Spiers has committed to using a union general contractor and said about 70 percent of the work could be union.)
“Even if his claim to us that the project may be ’70 percent union’ is to be believed, this means at minimum that three (out) of 10 jobs on a large, prominent and highly valuable project will almost certainly not pay wages and benefits that are standard for this area and necessary for a decent standard of living,” Building and Construction Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer Michael Theriault wrote in response.