By Bill Singleton, ECA President email: [email protected]
For the past eight years the Engineering Contractors’ Association has worked collaboratively with Los Angeles City Hall to try to achieve mutual goals with positive results.
There has been movement in the last few months on a pair of issues regarding union minimum pay standards and emergency work call-out times. We have been given verbal assurances that our goals will be met and are hoping to see these promises codified in city project documents in the future.
For decades we have been the most consistent industry participant in a liaison committee called the Ad-Hoc Working Group, which serves as a sounding board for the construction industry and the city’s Public Works, Engineering and Contract Compliance departments.
Turnover but no change
During our years of effort we have seen department heads, senior city staff and even Mayors come and go as we worked to ward these goals. ManyECAcontractorshaveexpressedare- luctance to work with the city, despite the fact that we are repre- sent the largest group of construction firms working on projects with the city. Wearehopingtochangethoseattitudesusingthe persistent, patient approach we have demonstrated so far.
For example, since 2008 Elizabeth Torrez, of MNR Construction, has been a part of the Ad-Hoc Working Group. She has stuck through the changes at the city working to identify the problems and helped to originate solutions on how we can collectively come together. It has not been an easy, discussing the same issue over-and-over again on behalf of all ECA contractors.
As part of our Go-Local effort for the past few years, we have gained support from our trade union partners. About a year ago, Ernesto Pantoja, the government affairs and labors relations director for Local 300 joined with us to help with access to the highest levels at the city, starting with getting Elizabeth and our Executive Director Wes May, the opportunity to attend an event at Getty House with Mayor Eric Garcetti. Another arm of our Go-Local team, our political advisors Pete Mitchell and Rich Lambros, were able to engineer a small group meeting with the mayor expressing our concerns and our ideas to help make things better.
It apparently has worked, at least up to this point. It has been a team effort and will continue as ECA and its Go-Local approach keeps opening doors for our members,current and future.