SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — SANDAG is expected to discuss a Community Benefits Agreement with labor unions during its Friday meeting.
However, non-union groups, the National Black Contractors Association (BCA), and the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) spoke out against the agreement during a news conference Thursday morning.
"We are not anti-union. We are pro-inclusion," Abdur-Rahim Hameed, BCA President, said.
BCA and CFEC said SANDAG negotiated a Community Benefits Agreement with the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council to give the majority of its 2021 Regional Transportation Plan projects to union workers.
"They're going to the trade unions exclusively," Hameed said. "We're talking about $160 billion over the next 30 years."
Eric Christen, CFEC Executive Director, said 90% of the county's construction workforce is non-union, yet non-union construction companies can use only 3 of their own workers.
"You don't sell out 90% of the industry in order to help convince people that they should vote for a tax increase," said Christen.
The BCA also said giving most of the work to union workers takes away hands-on training for those in their apprenticeship program, which helps people become master-tradesmen and contractors.
"I love working outside. I Iove working with my hands, and programs like the BCA are teaching people skills from the ground up," said Desmond Collins, an apprenticeship participant.
The groups claim SANDAG offered the trade unions the work to advocate funding for the 2021 Regional Transportation Plan.
ABC 10News reached out to SANDAG for comment on this story. A spokesperson said no one was available.