March 28, 2023
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Santa Barbara contractors decry union-backed plan


Construction contractors and business leaders on March 10 denounced a proposal they say would discriminate against non-union shops and drive up building costs for taxpayers in Santa Barbara County.

John Holehouse, president of Holehouse Construction Co., called a proposal to restrict bidding on public projects in the county to union shops “a shark dressed as a dolphin.”

The county Board of Supervisors voted Feb. 16 voted to consider the deal, billed by its proponents as a way to employ local workers and to codify a project’s financial and labor agreements.

But Juliet Bailey Bischoff, controller at J.W. Bailey Construction Co. in Santa Barbara, said the proposal would force non-union workers to pay union dues and contribute to union pension funds that the workers would likely never use.

The business leaders spoke at a rally held at the Santa Barbara County Administration Building. The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, a nonprofit that fights such agreements, sponsored the event.

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