Charlie Costello is communications director at Operating Engineers local 3.

Who’s Running for the Exit Now?

 that killed more than 100 people. After hearing about this fire and the descriptions of what happened, I couldn’t help but think of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, a fire that occurred in a ten story building over 100 years ago on March 25, 1911. The descriptions of exits being blocked, supervisors telling the workers that nothing was wrong and finally people jumping out of the building in an attempt to save themselves were all reminiscent of the fire in New York City that took the lives of 146 people, most of them young women.

At Oakland Airport, Transportation Secretary LaHood Speaks Out in Support of FAA Reauthorization

For the third time in the past six weeks I found myself at the Oakland International Airport’s Control Tower Construction Site for a press conference about the same issue, extending the FAA’s reauthorization bill before it expires at midnight, Friday September 16, 2011. In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think that I may be back here again but as a glass-half-full kind of guy, I quickly dispelled that thought.

While introducing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the press conference, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan remarked back on the last one, saying, “Last month, Barbara Boxer warned us that we might be back here again. We are hoping that the third time is a charm.”

Sen. Boxer Joins Oakland Airport Construction Workers to Support FAA Reauthorization, Save Jobs

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Senator Barbara Boxer addressed a crowd of construction workers, airport officials and the media at a press conference organized by the Oakland Port Authority. It felt like déjà-vu, as I had stood there at the same spot less than three weeks earlier at a similar press conference that helped turn the tide in getting an FAA reauthorization extension bill approved, just as the politicians were about to go on their summer recess. But this time, there were a few things different: the gate to the job site was open, the crane was set up and working, there were close to 100 construction workers there, and Senator Barbara Boxer was in attendance.

New Community Workforce Agreement Puts Berkeley Residents Back to Work

At the Berkeley City Council meeting on Jan. 18, 2011, the Council voted to adopt a resolution as noted on the action calendar for that evening “authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract with the Building Trades Council and twenty two labor organizations regarding the provision of labor to City construction projects in excess of $1 million dollars for a term of three years.”

This landmark Community Workforce Agreement will not only put local residents back to work but is a model to persuade other cities to work in partnership with their local communities and labor organizations to bring the jobs home.

Taking a Stand Against the Assault on Prevailing Wage

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) sent out a notice in October about a prevailing wage survey of all construction employers in California’s 18 counties in the Central Valley. There has never been a survey conducted of this size and scope in the history of the state, and it is just the beginning of what will become a full-blown frontal assault on workers’ wages.