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September 30, 2009 > City Management of Milpitas Library Project was fair and safe

City Management of Milpitas Library Project was fair and safe

Submitted By City of Milpitas

In response to allegations from an anti-union group, the City of Milpitas emphatically states that it managed a fair and safe construction project for the new Milpitas Library.

The newest jewel of the Santa Clara County Library system, the Milpitas Library opened in December 2008 on time and was delivered approximately $2 million under budget, saving the taxpayers significant amounts of money. The Milpitas branch is the busiest facility in the system and serves over 3,000 patrons per day.

Recently, an organization called the Associated Builders and Contractors, California Cooperation Committee (ABC-CCC) criticized the City for its oversight of the project, complaining that the worksite was allegedly unsafe and improperly used union laborers. The group announced that it had filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner's Office.

Indeed, ABC-CCC's allegations may be arising from its well-documented anti-union worker stance. ABC-CCC mainly asserts that subcontractors used union apprentice workers in a manner that was purportedly unsafe or harmful to project delivery.
However, a review of official documents reveals that the Milpitas Library Project did not have a single construction-related accident and had both daily and weekly meetings to implement worksite safety procedures. Furthermore, the project passed all weekly safety inspections and the general contractor was selected through a prequalification process which screened for track records on successful completion of public projects and for high safety marks by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Furthermore, the Milpitas Library Project had a "project labor agreement" that encouraged close cooperation between worker trade groups and general contractors, so as to maximize worker safety and the avoidance of costly job actions. The timely completion of the project and the millions of dollars in savings to the local taxpayers bear witness to the wisdom of this approach.

In addition, the City also took great steps in its contract documents and construction administration procedures to ensure that workers were paid the wages owed to them under California prevailing wage laws. Certified payrolls were released upon request.

In response to inquiries from the City earlier this week, the California Labor Commissioner's Office indicated that it had no record of the receipt of any complaint from ABC-CCC, despite that organization's statements to the contrary to the press. The City is on record as having pledged full cooperation with the Labor Commissioner in the event of any State law requests, but stands by its record of achievement.

Questions on this matter should be directed to City Manager Thomas C. Williams, City of Milpitas, at (408) 586-3050 and twilliams@ci.milpitas.ca.gov.

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