California Unions Voice Strong Opposition to Housing Bills

Trades groups demanded provisions in housing bills that ultimately will stymie the construction of much-needed affordable housing in the state.

1 minute read

August 31, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

California Houses

Frantik at en.wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

"Despite promises that California’s housing shortage would be a priority this year, a package to streamline project approvals and spur more construction has been thinned out by conflicts over local control, gentrification and environmental protections, as well as the sheer lack of time in a session cut short by the coronavirus pandemic," reports Alexei Koseff.

Opposition from the influencial State Building and Construction Trades Council of California has stalled several bills. "The trades pushed to include hiring guarantees for skilled workers in measures meant to make it easier to build — including for projects designed to be affordable for low-income Californians, which were exempted in a legislative deal on the issue three years ago," says Koseff.

Affordable-housing developers say that such provisions drive up the cost of construction. But construction trades organizations say skilled laborers deserve higher pay and would be exploited by builders without the provisions in place.

"With market-rate housing construction likely to take a hit during the recession caused by the pandemic, locking down jobs on affordable projects became even more important to the trades," adds Koseff.

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