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Clean Energy Alliance
Several labor members said the Clean Energy Alliance should adopt the policy as written by the IBEW Local 569. File photo
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Clean Energy Alliance a battleground over project labor agreements

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of the article incorrectly identified Cori Schumacher as CEA Chairwoman. According to the CEA’s website, Schumacher is listed as chairwoman but she has advised The Coast News that Del Mar Mayor Ellie Haviland is currently serving as CEA Chairwoman.  Also, this article has been updated to include the specific dollar amount donated to Schumacher’s campaign from IBEW Local 569. This documentation can be found here.

CARLSBAD — Two sides lined up over a proposed project labor agreement for the newly established Clean Energy Alliance.

The Carlsbad City Council discussed the CEA’s Inclusive and Sustainable Workforce Policy on Aug. 18 and why PLA language was introduced by CEA Boardmember Cori Schumacher into the policy — without warning to the council — during the CEA’s July 23 special meeting.

Mayor Matt Hall, who had Carlsbad staff play the video from the meeting, said he had concerns with the language in the revised policy, which was submitted on July 21 by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 569 of San Diego.

Hall said the language “fair and equal competition” was struck from the workforce policy (6F recital) after working with at least 10 other cities and the county since last year, many of which were tracking to join the CEA under the terms of the original recital.

“Ms. Schumacher and I spent with our staff and staff from 10 other cities, was really talking clean energy and what that may or may not look like from a JPA standpoint and coming up with different recitals by which we all agreed to,” Hall said. “Again, we spent time with everyone from El Cajon all the way up through Poway, across the 78 corridor, all five cities, and down the coast, talking it through and coming up with these recitals. At this previous meeting, we started to talk about entering language into a sustainable workforce policy that was not in alignment that what I thought we all agreed to.

“(It’s) always been the understanding, I believe, … that in order for community choice energy to be successful, it takes a larger body in order to get us where we want to get to for many, many different reasons.”

Both Hall and Schumacher were on a subcommittee to determine the viability of the CEA, which promises to deliver more clean and renewable energy at lower rates than San Diego Gas & Electric. However, Hall stated that Schumacher had stopped her briefing sessions with him several weeks ago.

During the July 23 meeting, Schumacher said PLAs would ensure a sustainable workforce, diversity, wages and help support local businesses.

Hall, along with others including CEA Boardmember Kristi Becker, said for the CEA to scale and land a large number of ratepayers, those potential partners should have a voice.

“We were getting to a point in finding where we’re aligned,” Schumacher said in response to the July meeting.

Several labor members and those who support unions said the CEA should adopt the policy as written by the IBEW Local 569.

Micha Mitrosky, an environmental organizer with the union, questioned why some would push back against the IBEW’s edited policy.

Mitrosky said numerous Community Choice Energy programs across the state are considering PLAs, which includes local business services, job quality and training. Advances community jobs and benefits.

However, Eric Christen, executive director of the San Diego-based Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, said PLAs are the opposite of inclusionary. He said they boxed out non-union workers and pointed to a countywide vote in 2010 where voters rejected struck down a county measure, 75%-25%, to ban their use.

Christen also targeted Schumacher’s campaign donations, which has received more than $40,000 from unions —including $10,569 from IBEW Local 569 on Feb. 8 — in a six-week period from December 23 through Feb. 11.

“About 90% of the workforce in San Diego County is union-free and would be excluded,” Christen said. “She’s advocating for a monopoly. Should recuse herself for anything on CCA.”