California Is Still Golden For Opportunity

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the crisis of California. The state is having a small population loss, after decades of growth. Aside from the numbers, people are saying California is tarnished. Too much homelessness, a lack of civil order on our streets and public transportation, and to top it off, a record storm season that cured the drought but caused havoc in our unprepared counties.

But there is so much more to California, and the Building Trades are a huge part of it.

California has some of the country’s strongest labor-protection laws, union density and prevailing wage standards. We will make that even more forceful in the 2024 election, when we ask voters to add the right to unionize to the state Constitution.

We work together to turn crises into opportunities. Faced with a record lack of homes for poor and middle-class families, the Building Trades joined other unions and community groups to pass United to House LA in the city of Los Angeles. It will raise hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build new homes with Project Labor Agreements, and protect renters. 

On a statewide basis, the Building Trades support bills to streamline housing permits and promote our skilled and trained workforce. 

To solve the housing crisis, we must build more, and we must bring more workers into the middle class with good union jobs.

We’ve spent too many decades under-building California. Our economy is the fifth-largest in the world and a massive generator of jobs, from bio-tech to TV streaming to tourism. And the Building Trades are active in building the facilities these industries require: factories, labs, soundstages, mass transit, museums, schools and ports. Let’s not forget, Southern California is hosting the 2028 Olympics. The world will be watching as athletes compete in state-of-the-art sites like SoFi Stadium and the Intuit Dome.

The other constant challenge is energy. California leads the nation in going green. The Building Trades are part of ARCHES, a top contender for a federal hydrogen hub, which will create green hydrogen facilities and jobs. 

Several years ago, our state legislature passed SB 54, bringing a skilled and trained workforce to the refineries that supply oil and gas. Now, we are working to expand these job standards to other industries with SB 740. This will make the new plants safer for their workers and surrounding communities.

When it comes to taking on huge infrastructure challenges, California and our Building Trades are in the forefront. On any given day, 1,000 skilled men and women are working to bring high speed rail into reality. We just celebrated the 10,000th Building Trades job created on this project.

High speed rail is ambitious, and it’s not easy. Nothing important is.

That’s kind of like California: We’re the biggest state and sometimes, the most frustrating. 

As members of Building Trades local unions, we welcome the chance to improve our great state while we earn a good union living, and pass on our skills to the next generation of Californians. If we do everything right, they’ll be able to do the same thing, too.

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