Measure D

Labor Agreements for City Construction

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CITY OF SAN DIEGO—Would amend the San Diego Municipal Code to allow the City of San Diego to use project labor agreements (PLA) on construction projects and make the City eligible for state funding and financial assistance. Measure D requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass.

Fiscal Impact: Given uncertainty regarding potential PLA impacts on overall project costs, the measure not mandating PLA use, and the unknown magnitude and number of future projects using PLAs, the fiscal impact of potentially adopting PLAs on future projects cannot be reasonably projected.

Next San Diego County Measure: Measure H



Proponents of Measure D argue it delivers for San Diego by helping protect our state infrastructure funds, requiring public disclosure of city contracts, and creating good jobs for local workers struggling in today's economy. They argue Measure D adds long overdue transparency and accountability safeguards by requiring public disclosure of who gets city contracts, citizen oversight to expose waste, and strict tracking of local hiring so we can prioritize local San Diegans before out-of-state workers for local jobs. 

A YES vote on this measure means: The City of San Diego would be allowed to use project labor agreements (PLA) on construction projects. (Campaign Website)


Opponents of Measure D argue it would restrict Fair and Open Competition by discriminating against 80% of the local construction workforce, including underrepresented minority workers, by allowing backroom deals that benefit only 20% of the workforce. They argue Measure D undermines collective bargaining and goes around contracts that are already negotiated and forces local construction workers to pay into pension funds without receiving the benefit. 

A NO vote on this measure means: The status quo would be maintained and the City of San Diego would not be allowed to use project labor agreements (PLA) on construction projects.

In Depth

This measure would amend the San Diego Municipal Code (Municipal Code) to allow the City of San Diego (City) to use project labor agreements (PLA) on construction projects. The Municipal Code defines a PLA as any prehire, collective bargaining, or similar type of project specific labor agreement entered into with one or more labor organizations, employees, or employee representatives that establishes terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project or projects. This measure would affect City projects involving construction, rehabilitation, alteration, conversion, extension, maintenance, repair, replacement, or improvement of any City structures or land.

State law does not allow state funding or financial assistance for local construction projects in charter cities, like the City, if a local law prohibits that city from using or considering the use of a PLA. By repealing PLA restrictions which some have equated to a PLA ban, the City will be eligible for state funding for construction projects. Under state law, PLAs must include provisions that prohibit discrimination; permit qualified contractors to bid and be awarded contracts regardless of whether it is party to a collective bargaining agreement; address drug testing; guarantee against work stoppages, strikes, lockouts, and disruptions; and provide for dispute resolution by a neutral arbitrator. In 2012, City voters approved Proposition A, a citizens’ initiative titled “Prohibits the City from Requiring Project Labor Agreements on City Construction Projects.” Proposition A amended the Municipal Code to prohibit the City from requiring a PLA on City construction projects except when a PLA was required by state or federal law or as a condition of the City receiving state or federal funds. This measure would clarify any ambiguity, uncertainty, or potential conflict between the Municipal Code and California law by making clear that the City may use PLAs on City construction projects in accordance with California law, and that the City is eligible for state funding.

As adopted by Proposition A, the Municipal Code currently requires the City to post all City construction contracts valued at more than $25,000 on the City’s website. This measure would increase reporting requirements by requiring the City to post on its website all City construction contracts valued at more than $10,000 as well as demographic information for workers on a construction project that utilizes a PLA. The measure also directs City Council to create a citizens’ advisory board to review construction projects for compliance with the Municipal Code amendments proposed by this measure.

The measure can only be repealed by a majority of City voters. The measure allows the City Council to amend the Municipal Code to comply with changes in the California Constitution or state law concerning use of PLAs. All other amendments must be approved by a majority of City voters. 

Source: City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure D

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