One of the largest regional trade union consortiums, the Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council (BCTC), has endorsed Anthony Becker for Santa Clara mayor.
“The upcoming election will have a huge impact on the future of Santa Clara,” said BCTC Executive Director David Bini, at a press conference last Friday, “and whether or not our workforce will be able to afford to continue living in this area in the years to come.
“Downward wage pressure is forcing our workers to consider other options and longer commute times,” continued Bini. “The fight for prevailing wages is critical because it is the only way to ensure workers and their families can keep their heads above water.”
“We’ve seen Anthony’s voting record that supports prevailing wage, that supports workers,” Bini said. “We can see in city council meetings that he’s asking the right questions of developers. He clearly has the interests of our workers at heart.”
Becker is running against sitting Mayor Lisa Gillmor, who Bini says “has let us down repeatedly.” Bini cited recent controversies over Gillmor’s apparent lack of support for prevailing wage standards.
“Lisa Gillmor used her position as Mayor of Santa Clara to convince the governor of California that Related Companies should be exempt from prevailing wage law on their $8 billion development in Santa Clara,” Bini said. “In doing so, Gilmore has chosen to prop up the interests of one of the largest developers in the country over that of her own constituents who should be able to make a living by raising that project.
“Gillmor seems to care more about the interests of luxury developers than Santa Clara’s workforce,” continued Bini. “Santa Clara itself does not have a project labor agreement workforce standard for their public work projects. That’s a concern for me as well.”
Bini also noted controversy swirling around Gillmor over whether she is paying prevailing wage at Santa Clara Unified’s teacher housing development, Casa Del Maestro, which Gillmor’s firm manages.
“I have not seen any evidence that her property management company has hired any contractors that pay prevailing wage on a regular basis,” said Bini
Previously, Bini told The Weekly that it was his understanding that companies working at Casa Del Maestro paid 30 to 50 percent below standard for construction, repairs and maintenance work.
Santa Clara needs “a mayor who will stand up for labor in the face of massive developers, corporate interests,” Bini concluded. “Santa Clara voters need to stand with our workers as they fill out their ballots because this election will have consequences for years.”
The BCTC endorsement of Becker marks a tectonic shift in Santa Clara politics, where unions in the past lined up behind Gillmor and her candidates. South Bay Labor Council, another major local labor consortium, has declined to make any endorsement in the Santa Clara race.
The Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council represents 27 Local Unions and District Councils with over 35,000 members.