Newsom and organized labor face off over safety appointment, prevailing wage legisltion

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California’s building trades unions are running digital ads all but accusing Gov. Gavin Newsom of ignoring the deaths of blue collar workers, indicating a widening rift between the influential labor organization and the Democratic governor, Calmatters.com reports.

The spots say 10 months into his administration, Newsom has not filled a position on the board that oversees the Division of Occupational Safety and Health of California, Cal-OSHA.

“Construction workers die while you can’t be bothered to fill OSHA vacancy,” and link to accounts of deaths of a refinery worker, a construction worker and an ironworker, the news outlet reports.

Newsom’s spokesman Nathan Click did not say when the position would be filled. Regarding any rift with the blue collar worjers’ union, Click cited a recent news release about Newsom signing “landmark legislation drafted in response to the #MeToo movement.”

Video: State Building and Construction Trades Council’s call for prevailing wage legislation.

Robbie Hunter, the head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, said he has been asking that the vacancy be filled for months.

Hunter said he got no response from the administration when he sent a note in September about an ironworker, Brien Daunt, who died on the job, leaving behind a daughter.

“A construction worker is of no lesser human value than anyone else, when he or she doesn’t come home to their children. The loss is just as big as if they were someone with a title and an Ivy League diploma.”

Newsom’s recent decision to veto legislation important to the labor movement have helped to fuel the rift. He vetoed legislation to ensure workers on more construction projects, including charter public schools, would be subject to prevailing wage requirements.

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