California’s Construction Employers Association Eyes Optimism Despite Tough Road Ahead; Workers’ Comp Major Issue

January 15, 2004

The Construction Employers Association’s annual membership meeting this week reportedly included warnings about the future of public works projects affected by pending state and local budget cuts and a renewed sense of security based on a new four-year agreement between builders and 32,000 carpenters from Fresno and Monterey counties north to the Oregon state line.

“Our partnership with the carpenters has to remain one of our top priorities in 2004,” said Kip Trexel, newly elected president of the Construction Employers Association (CEA). “We need to work together to do a better job of promoting the building industry both to Sacramento, our new governor and the general public.”

Concerns about increased workers’ compensation and health care costs, as well as the daunting prospect of having a $15 billion deficit reduction bond and a $12 billion school construction bond both on the March 2004 ballot, are among the issues on the minds of contractors and unionized construction labor. “Labor is committed to working with management in order for both of us to survive these challenging economic times,” assured Robert Alvarado, executive director of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. “We realize that if the builders can’t stay competitive and get the projects, then we won’t have projects to build. This next year will be a tough one, but there are deals out there to be had and we want to land them together.”

Alvarado also vowed to work with the CEA in solving the workers’ compensation crisis facing California.

The Construction Employers Association (CEA) is comprised of approximately 100 contractors – mostly general contractors – who perform building construction work in Northern California. CEA’s membership base performs over eight billion dollars in public and private construction volume annually in the State of California.

Building industry unveils public campaign

One of the issues discussed this week was the need for the building industry to better promote itself and the positive role it plays in California’s economy.

The trustees of the Building Industry Trust have reportedly identified the superior training and skill of the union workforce as a differentiating benefit worthy of increased awareness. BIT endorses the quality of workmanship and superior productivity of union workers and the record of on-time and on-budget completion by unionized contractors.

The trustees also expect the safety practices and other professionalism of the union building trades to gain increased recognition during the current period of crisis and soaring premiums in workers’ compensation and liability insurance.

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