In 2010, as a Riverside Community College trustee, Medina, along with Mary Figueroa and Mark Takano, voted for using $350 million of Measure C bonds for Riverside college improvements utilizing a project labor agreement (PLA.) ”
California Assembly Member Jose Medina represents the 61st District, which consists of Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris and Mead Valley. In 2010, as a Riverside Community College trustee, Medina, along with Mary Figueroa and Mark Takano, voted for using $350 million of Measure C bonds for Riverside college improvements utilizing a project labor agreement (PLA.) Medina, now in his second term, chairs the committee on higher education. Recently, he spoke with Sean Reynolds of California CEO Magazine’s Energy Independence, about the agreement and the state of education in the Inland Empire.
In 2010, as a Riverside Community College board trustee, Jose Medina voted to use a project labor agreement (PLA) on a $350 million bond measure to renovate Riverside County schools. The five-year agreement requires contractors to pay union-level wages and benefits, sets a local hiring goal of 50 percent and requires apprenticeship programs. Workers from Riverside County get first priority followed by workers from San Bernardino County. Elected to the California State Assembly in 2012, apparently, voters supported his decision. Jose Medina now represents the 61st Assembly District.
Of the project Medina said, “I’m proud to say that I was one of three votes along with now Congressman Mark Takano and board member Mary Figueroa who voted for the project labor agreement at RCC.”
Project Labor Agreements are not without political controversy, so much so that some California politicians have tried to legislate a ban on the option to use PLAs. As a result, on Oct. 2, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 922 into law saying, “I am signing Senate Bill 922 to prohibit bans on project labor agreements.” The new law does not mandate the use of PLAs, but rather keeps the option available to California communities.
Medina says PLAs are not just for workers, but benefit the project and the local community as a whole. As a trustee, he said they would often need to address problems concerning inferior work that needed to be redone. Project labor agreements bring in qualified, local workers, he says, assuring public projects are “carried out professionally.” Project labor agreements also set terms on arbitration and address grievances ahead of project deadlines, so work stoppages are never an issue. Over all, Medina, and community leaders of the same mind, like Congressman Takano, believes PLAs add to the fabric of a vital community; where workers live and spend their earnings for local goods and services.
The assembly member recognizes the critical role higher education plays in supporting jobs and opening up doors for opportunity. Medina, having served as a school board member and as a former educator, is uniquely qualified to offer his opinion on the state of education in Southern California. He says certificate programs at the community college level are important. “We need to do more on training students for the job opportunities that exist.” The Riverside Community College district has several such programs including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) apprenticeship program administered by Norco College. He says we need to educate students as to what jobs exist and how and where to get that training.