BDN was there on Tuesday as over 100 union carpenters from across California rallied outside of the capital building in Sacramento to show their support of Assembly Bill 2011. The bill authored by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks promises to repurpose the earmarks of urban blight; shuttered stores, rundown strip malls and unused office space- with new and affordable housing.
The bill also stipulates that area wage standards are upheld for the construction workers and that healthcare benefits will be provided when certain parameters are met. The boisterous crowd of carpenters showed up in droves to make their voices heard on these issues.
The carpenters wound their way through the plaza outside of the capital chanting and holding signs with their messages in favor of prevailing wage and affordable housing. The supporters were deafening at times and were undoubtedly heard deep inside the capital chamber as the bill was presented on the assembly floor.
Affordable housing developers and union carpenters partnered to develop the bill which would streamline the approval process for housing developments in commercial areas. Most importantly to the carpenters, labor standards for construction workers on these projects would be set at union level prevailing wage and health benefits would be offered if the projects entail the construction of 50 or more units.
Along with the Nor Cal Carpenters Union and the Southwest Carpenters Union, the bill has found supporters in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as well as the California School Employees Association (CSEA).
Assemblymember Wicks was happy with the rally goers' support and confident in the Bill's future.
“Today’s vote in Senate Housing brings us one step closer to streamlining production of a huge amount of much-needed affordable housing, and in turn creating tens of thousands of well-paying, high road construction jobs in every community,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “I refuse to preside over inertia or the status quo when it comes to our state’s most intractable issue, and this bill is a reflection of the bold action our housing crisis requires.”
The Bill ultimately passed the Senate Housing Committee by 6-1. The next stop is the Senate Government and Finance Committee on June 29.