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Sweetwater Union HSD votes to negotiate PLA with construction unions

The Sweetwater Union High School District voted 4-0 on Monday to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and its unions.

The project labor agreement would be for Proposition O or Mello-Roos Community Facilities Districts funded school construction, repairs and renovation.

The project labor agreement is a collectively bargained contract used in the construction industry to set the terms and conditions of employment and pay on large projects, in exchange to not halt construction and finish the project on time and on budget.

The labor agreement would also mandate state-approved joint-labor management apprenticeship programs for the training and development of future generations of workers.

Once an agreement has been reached, the Sweetwater Union High School District will consider the adoption of the labor agreement at a public board meeting.

Proposition O, a $644 million school bond measure, had been approved by voters in November 2006. The money was meant to pay for new classroom buildings and renovate existing structures at all of the Sweetwater Union High School District campuses.

Spending on Proposition O project was halted after former Sweetwater Union board members were indicted for accepting bribes in exchange for their votes on multimillion-dollar construction projects.

Ex-superintendent Jesus Gandara, trustees Arlie Ricassa and Pearl Quinones, former board member Greg Sandoval, and a construction company executive Henry Amigable, were involved in accepting tickets to popular sports events and vacation getaways on a consistent basis from the year 2008 until 2011.

By April 2014, every indicted school district official pled guilty to some wrongdoing in the corruption probe uncovering their receipt of gifts from construction contractors ahead of their votes on contracts.

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