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Ironworkers and political leaders listen as Juan Galvan, business manager of Iron Workers Local 229, speaks to crowd. Complaints rang from not hiring local workers to bad on-site practices. Photo by Promise Yee
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Ironworkers rally for rights over construction project

OCEANSIDE — Union and nonunion ironworkers joined together to rally next to the construction site of the Springhill Suites Marriott Feb. 16. Complaints ranged from not hiring local workers to bad on-site practices on the building project that broke ground Sept. 18.

“We’ve got to call their headquarters and say it’s not OK to come into a city, to bring workers from somewhere else and pay a lower standard than we have fought for here,” said Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council secretary treasurer, said.

“I’m out here to try to get the community aware of what’s going on with this project,” said ironworker Cesar Cabrera. “This project is being done by out of state contractors, out of state workers. It’s not allowing the citizens who are unemployed, jobs. These contractors are coming in and not paying area standards.”

Ironworker Cesar Cabrera gathers with fellow workers for rally. He said out of state contractors are not paying area wages. Photo by Promise Yee

Speakers said frugal hiring practices are taking too many shortcuts. It’s been reported that out of state workers are being paid less than the local prevailing wage. It’s also claimed that job safety and fair work practices are not being followed. Speakers at the rally said workers are being taken advantage of because of our difficult economic times.

“Hopefully when a job like this come to town they are able to negotiate with local contractors, local workers and get the citizens who are unemployed in this town work,” Cabrera said.

Among those at the rally were five Southern California workers who walked off the job and joined the rally. They said work conditions were unsuitable. Required safety equipment was not provided and workers were not given sufficient breaks, enough water or earned overtime pay.

Currently 80 Arizona workers are on the job.

Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez also attended the rally and spoke in support of hiring skilled local workers.

Sanchez said the first of five blocks of planned downtown redevelopment was expected to bring jobs to the community. She said she wants to work on changing hiring practices to ensure skilled local workers have an opportunity to get work.

Oceanside is known to have one of the lowest countywide ratios of jobs to residents.

“The idea was always putting people to work from our local workforce,” Sanchez said. “We lose on two levels, getting people back to work and all the money going out to Arizona.”

Attempts were made to reach Marriott International Inc. and Stage Hospitality management group. Those contacted said they could not address questions. Follow up will continue to be made to reach the project manager.


rodkiller11 March 23, 2013 at 8:23 am

I quit Davis/JD after 3 years because they started making deals with local BAs to pay $6 an hour under the rate with no benefits. Be wary of them. They will take away everything you’ve worked for all of your life. I left when the district council told me no benefits had been paid for 8 months. I can only speculate that the BA got a big kickback for making that deal. We’re being sold out from the inside AS WELL.

AG March 31, 2013 at 8:27 pm

If you work as a union member and wages and benefits are pre-negotiated how is it that you got paid 6 dollars an hour less.?

PR stunt for unions March 15, 2013 at 9:52 am

What’s going on with this now?

Lorena Gonzalez is now fully immersed in her campaign for California State Assembly. Is she coming back to Oceanside (outside her district), or was this just a PR stunt?

AG February 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Wake up people and take responsibility in your communities, did you really understand the message? Don’t let these contractors outsource labor. If everyone uses local hire and pays a decent wage those workers WILL spend wages earned in their local community. Companies like JD Steel exploit workers, they suppress wages so much in areas like right to work states where they are from that it starves the local labor force to the point that they will go anywhere the company ships them off to just to make a few bucks for their families. These hard working men do a job that few can. Keep it in San Diego County! Keep it local!

bleme March 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

Instead of your vague accusations, how about some hard facts? What wage, exactly, are these “exploited” workers being paid? If you don’t know, you have just become another one of Gonzalez’s tools.

Lorena still receiving union check? February 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

You have to give it to union bosses like Gonzalez and union tools like Woods and Sanchez, they sure can put on a press conference. What are there, 7 people there?

Poor unions. They don’t get their welfare in the form of a Project Labor Agreement so they whine to …….well to whomever will cover there amateur-hour press conference.

And how does Lorena find this time to represent the “working man” when she appears to spend most of her time trolling for dollars for her Assembly race? Probably using union funds and union time to run for the seat.

A bit of advice to the Ironworkers: get your insane pricing down to sane levels and someone will hire you. Until then your jobs will be sent elsewhere and there is nothing you can do about it except whine.

PR stunt for unions February 23, 2013 at 8:19 am

They say the workers are coming from Arizona and then five workers from Southern California walk off the job.

Were the workers on the job who walked off union plants? Sounds like a set-up.

The bad on-site practice is not hiring union workers.

Regarding those interlopers from Arizona, no union worker in San Diego County has ever left the region to find work elsewhere. They don’t cross the border.

By “prevailing wages” the union people mean union collective bargaining payments that they squeeze out of their companies with the threat of a strike.

Maybe these workers have a better work ethic than the people who have the spare time to attend a rally?

They want to make the owner look bad, fire the company and its workers, and hire union workers instead.

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