Written by Michael Palomba
Carlsbad City Councilwoman Cori Schumacher is acting as a mouthpiece for her union donors rather than fighting for her constituents.
At a recent Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) meeting, Schumacher pushed for the verbatim implementation of language used by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union (IBEW). This language would allow for Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) and directly reduce the number of people qualified to work on CEA projects, severely diminishing competition.
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction Executive Director Eric Christen sent an email to the CEA directors detailing the major flaws associated with PLAs, calling the them “discriminatory and wasteful.”
“Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) are banned in 24 states and 11 entities have done the same in California including FIVE entities in San Diego County. Carlsbad residents themselves voted to ban their use all together in 2010 when we passed Measure A, which passed 75-25% despite unions led by Lorena Gonzalez outspending us 2 to 1,” wrote Christen. “Why are PLAs so unpopular? Because, in California’s case, they implicitly and explicitly discriminate against the 85% of the workforce who are union-free.”
All of these points are exactly correct, illustrating why Schumacher’s complicity in advancing PLAs is so problematic.
“PLAs create barriers for local, minority and women-owned construction employers and their employees from participating in building their community because they contain provisions that do not allow for the full utilization of their own workforces and force union-free workers to pay into union pension plans they will never vest in. This is wage theft,” Christen added.
Now, Democrats are known for pushing pro-union causes, so what makes this case so controversial? Well, IBEW contributed over $10,500 to Schumacher’s campaign in February, and that donation was bundled with another $5,000 from a closely associated union. Prior to the February donation, the IBEW donated $5,000 to her campaign in December 2019 and $5,200 in 2018. So within the last two campaign cycles, Schumacher has received over $20,000 from the IBEW, and now she’s fighting for regulations that would limit competition and essentially provide them with a monopoly on all industry contracts.
There is a significant conflict of interest here that Schumacher is hoping to hide from her constituents. Christen sent a follow-up email to the CEA, calling for Councilwoman Schumacher’s recusal from any discussion or vote having to do with PLAs or the CEA. He asserted that “the timeline of events and the more than $40,000 she has received from unions” indicates that she may be engaged in a quid pro quo.
Whether or not Schumacher is engaged in a quid pro quo is yet to be determined, but her blatant disregard for her constituents’ wishes is clear. As mentioned by Christen, Carlsbad residents voted against PLAs by a 3-1 margin, and San Diego County voters as a whole rejected them by an even greater margin. This information is no secret to Schumacher, yet she is shamelessly pushing for PLAs anyway.
Councilwoman Schumacher has clearly gotten too comfortable with her position. Rather than serving her constituency, she is serving her own personal interests at the expense of hard-working, non-unionized workers in Carlsbad and across the county.