Union Rules Shut Down Solar Farm Construction

Categories: Labor
Recurrent Energy
No work today
In the rock-paper-scissors game of progressive political causes, union work rules beat renewable energy AND local hiring mandates, reports The Examiner today. Construction on the behind-schedule, massive Sunset Reservoir Solar Project was halted this week after laborers showed up on-site to demand promised jobs.

Politicians promised that if the private-public-power-purchase agreement -- meaning they build it, we buy it -- were approved that it would hire locally, and hire from low-income neighborhoods. However, there wasn't enough work on the project to quite satisfy both union members half-starved for work as well as untrained labor from SF neighborhoods.

The Sunset Reservoir project, designed by Recurrent Energy, contracted out to Bass Electric and ultimately the property of the people of San Francisco -- once we buy the electricity from Recurrent for a couple of decades -- is to be one of the state's largest solar farms and one of the biggest municipal solar farms in the country. Construction was supposed to finish sometime this spring with the project turned on later in the year; deadlines are now completely screwed with work halted.

The Examiner appears to be the only media currently on this story. Our friends there report:

Under conditions imposed by city leaders, 21 local laborers from disadvantaged neighborhoods are supposed to be working on the project, but only nine were at the site Monday. The laborers are trained by The City.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, on the other hand, places its members on jobs from anywhere in the region.

Protest organizer Aboriginal Blackmen United, a Bayview district group that placed laborers on the project, plans a similar action today, according to founder James Richards.

"Unless we work, nobody works," he said.

The Snitch can't guess at what kind of compromise city leaders can find amongst workers: they made a promise they can't keep. It's going to be ugly, and it's going to delay the turn-on of renewable energy. Lose-lose.

My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest

Now Trending

From the Vault


©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.