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Thursday, April 18, 2024   WECA 95th Birthday Celebration and Gratitude



WECA celebrated its 95th birthday on Tuesday, April 9th! We're thrilled to celebrate 95 years of serving our member contractors and industry partners, educating the finest electricians and low voltage technicians in the Western United States, and advocating for the merit shop industry in California, Arizona, and Utah. Thank you for being part of our legacy, and we look forward to the next 95 years of excellence with all of you.
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Thursday, April 18, 2024   WECA Member Makes SBJ's List of Top Solar Contractors in the Sacramento Area



We would like to congratulate WECA Member Contractor Barnum & Celillo Electric Inc. for being named to the Sacramento Business Journal's Top Solar Contractors in the Sacramento Area list! Congratulations, Barnum & Celillo!
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Thursday, April 18, 2024   1st Year, 2nd Semester Low Voltage Apprentices Test Out Virtual Reality Confined Spaces Training












First year, second semester WECA Low Voltage apprentices recently piloted virtual reality Confined Spaces training from developer PaleBlue.

In this virtual and immersive safety training, they practiced entering a space with limited entry and egress, prepared for accessing a confined space, and then tried out two roles: an entrant and an attendant.

Our instructors and apprentices gave the training two thumbs up. WECA is now rolling it out to all of our Low Voltage apprentices in their first year and second semester of their Apprenticeship program with us, and this VR training will be coming soon to our Commercial and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship programs, too!

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Thursday, April 18, 2024   Support the WECA Utah Class of 2024 by Sponsoring Their Upcoming Graduation Event in June


 

Dear WECA Member Contractors, Industry Partners, and Supporters,

WECA is proud to announce the Utah Graduating Class of 2024!

Our Commercial Electrical Apprentices in the Class of 2024 have successfully completed their education with WECA.

Help us honor their achievement with your sponsorship of their graduation event on:

Saturday, June 22, 2024 from 4:00 to 7:30 PM

DoubleTree by Hilton Salt Lake City Airport

5151 West Wiley Post Way

Salt Lake City, UT 84116

Help us make their graduation memorable--your sponsorship can allow you and members of your team to attend the graduation event, which is especially meaningful for grads if you're their contractor. Plus, you can meet WECA instructors and staff, other member contractors, and electrical industry supporters as well. Sponsorship packages at different levels may include tickets to attend the graduation, ads in the graduation program, recognition of your sponsorship during the ceremony, mention of your support on our website, in our newsletters, and over social media.   

Please consider the sponsorship opportunities at the link below, and thank you for your support of electrical training, apprenticeship, and workforce development for Utah!

Sincerely,

The WECA Graduation Team

Reserve your sponsorship package

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Thursday, April 18, 2024   Please Give Your Team a Heads-Up: WECA Summer Session (Jul - Sep 2024) Now Available for Enrollment



Our Summer 2024 (Jul - Sep) course catalog is now available on our website for your electrician trainees in our certificate program, and journey worker continuing education students who need 32 hours this year. GetWired instructor-led classes can fill quickly. Be sure to encourage your employees to secure their spot!

View the Electrician Trainee course catalog

Jump to the Journey Worker continuing education course catalog

They can also enroll over the phone at (877) 444-9322, in person at our Rancho Cordova training facility, or by email at info@goweca.com.



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Thursday, April 18, 2024   Court Decision Answers the Question: When Are Employees On-the-Clock?

Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP


 

Content courtesy of: WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Court Decision Answers the Question: When Are Employees On-the Clock?

In Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors, a decision focusing on the construction industry, the California Supreme Court recently provided specific guidance on whether time spent waiting for a vehicle inspection is compensable. The Court also provided guidance on the factors which must be considered when determining whether time spent driving to a remote site after such inspection should be paid as compensable travel time, as well as whether thirty-minute meal breaks should be paid if workers remain on site while on break. While the decision is expressly limited to on-site construction (Wage Order 16), the principles articulated by the Court apply to every California worksite. Accordingly, the Opinion offers helpful insights to all workplaces where employees undergo entrance or exit routines before or after work.

The issues came before the Supreme Court – not through the normal appellate procedures – but by means of a specific request from the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for guidance on California law. In requesting this assistance, the Ninth Circuit noted the issues “have significant public policy implications for California workers and employers” and no current California case addresses them specifically.

Mandatory Vehicle Stop

In resolving the first issue, the Supreme Court closely examined the circumstances at the site where plaintiff, George Huerta, was employed. Specifically, it noted that workers were required to pass through a security gate before entering the project’s perimeter. The security gate was located several miles from the perimeter. To pass through the security gate, workers had to show a badge and, when asked, allow a guard to peer into their vehicles. The inspection process could take up to a minute or more per vehicle. Based upon these facts, the Supreme Court concluded that when an employee spends time on an employer’s premises awaiting and undergoing an employer-mandated entrance or exit security procedure, such as a vehicle inspection, such time shall be compensated.

In resolving the second issue, the Supreme Court was required to consider whether the mandatory vehicle stop amounted to an initial work location, comparable to a requirement to check in at a shop prior to heading out to the worksite. The Court recognized that when employees are required to “check in” at a certain location, all time after the check-in should be paid. The Court concluded that the circumstances of a vehicle inspection, however, do not equate to a check-in unless it is required for reasons other than accessing the worksite. The Court expressly held that if the employee was required to pick up supplies, receive work orders, or otherwise perform any work at or during the inspection process, the time spent driving would be compensable.

The Court further clarified that the Employer’s imposition of certain restrictions when driving from the vehicle inspection site to the parking lot did not transform commute time to compensable work time. Although those restrictions – speed limits, bans on passing, smoking and the use of earpods – arguably benefitted the employer, the Court considered them common sense safety rules that did not convert the travel to work time.

Meal Break Rules

The third issue was complicated by the applicability of two collective bargaining agreements governing the project. Under Wage Order 16, meal break rules under the Labor Code do not apply when a collective bargaining agreement governs the worker and addresses meal periods, hours worked, and provides wages thirty percent higher than minimum wage. The Court held that although specific meal break rules under the Labor Code were inapplicable due to the collective bargaining agreements, the employer was still bound to pay employees for time spent on a meal break when and if the employee was restricted to the premises. The Court held that the employer and applicable union could negotiate for an on-site break, but such break would have to be paid.

Takeaways

For non-construction employers, the most important takeaways in the case are two-fold. First, it is a reminder that any time – even less than a minute – spent prior to or after work on activities that benefit an employer are likely to be compensable, even if such activities can be done from the comfort of the employee’s vehicle. Second, notwithstanding the obligation to pay for time spent during a vehicle stop and inspection, the time spent after the inspection to the actual worksite is probably not compensable. Moreover, employers can impose safety restrictions on access roads without concern that such safety measures will transform commute time to paid time.

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Friday, April 5, 2024   WECA San Diego Elected Officials Visits; Discussion of Workforce Needs and Industry Challenges in CA

WECA CEO Don Black Discusses Regional Workforce Development Needs and Construction Industry Challenges with San Diego Elected Officials and Staff; Gives Tours of Our San Diego Training Center
 

A dispatch from Dave Everett, WECA's new Southern California Government Relations Representative:

WECA’s staff works hard to protect the rights of merit shop business owners and their employees throughout the West. Part of that work is showing our elected officials and their staff members first-hand the great work WECA is doing in workforce development at our San Diego Training Center.

To that end, WECA CEO Don Black was recently in San Diego and had a chance to sit down with some of our local elected officials here in San Diego County and discuss the workforce development needs of the region as well as some of the challenges facing the construction industry in California.

After a breakfast event with San Diego Supervisor candidate and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, WECA's CEO met with with California State Assembly candidate and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and staff from Assemblymember Chris Ward's office and gave them a brief tour of our WECA facilities in San Diego. It was a good opportunity to highlight the many ways WECA’s apprentices learn in the classroom and to see the hands-on, competency-based labs they undertake. The day concluded with an opportunity to talk with State Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, State Senator Catherine Blakespear and Vista Mayor John Franklin as they celebrated the AGC National Convention hosted here in San Diego and Thomas L Brown becoming AGC of America Board President in 2024.

WECA members embrace the idea that political action is not simply prudent, but essential to preserving and enhancing their ability to pursue business opportunities in the public and private marketplace.







Above, WECA CEO Don Black gave California State Assembly candidate and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio a tour of WECA's San Diego electrical apprenticeship and training center and discussed WECA's workforce development efforts

Below, Don and Jeff Van de Moere, WECA's Membership Manager for California and Utah, met with Assemblymember Chris Ward's staff at our San Diego facility and highlighted for them the many ways our electrical and low voltage apprentices and students learn in our classroom and labs.





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Friday, April 5, 2024   New Industry Partner Spotlight: DeWalt


 

Like many of WECA’s industry partners, our newest one, DeWalt, is time-tested. Since founder Raymond DeWalt invented the radial arm saw in the 1920s and “ushered in a new era of jobsite productivity,” DeWalt has provided the construction industry with safe, high quality, durable, and innovative tools and power tools.

Currently, DeWalt offers more than 1,000 products that focus on the professional end user. These products include power tools, hand tools, accessories, storage, anchors, and fasteners. These tools are stand-alone products but also include systems such as cordless platforms, Perform and Protect, Tool Connect, and more. DeWalt also offers trade solutions such as software and online safety training courses.

Additionally, DeWalt also offers product lines and solutions built specifically for the electrical industry. DeWalt’s software offerings designed for electrical workflows include MSUITE, HangerWorks PRO, and TOOL CONNECT Site Manager. Meanwhile, DeWalt offers tools made for fabricating and installing, as well as tools aimed toward stripping, crimping, and maintenance. Lastly, DeWalt offers myriad anchors and fasteners that work well with comprehensive electrical workflows. 

“WECA Member Contractors would benefit from using DeWalt’s products, systems, and solutions because DeWalt is leading the way in the era of modern construction sites and constantly developing new technology, products, and software to improve efficiencies,” says Justin Miller, DeWalt’s San Diego-based Trade Specialist.

To that end, DeWalt has partnered with WECA because “WECA is where apprentices learn and grow, and DeWalt wants to be involved. We feel it’s important for apprentices to have the opportunity to have experience with DeWalt tools,” according to Miller.

WECA Member Contractors interested in procuring products, systems, and solutions from DeWalt can reach out to the following contacts:

·        Justin Miller (Trade Specialist, San Diego)

o  Phone: (951) 216-5958

o  Email: justin.miller@sbdinc.com

·        Nate Longabach (Trade Specialist, San Diego)

o  Phone: (949) 351-5154

o  Email: nate.longabach@sbdinc.com

·        Erick Cornejo (Account Manager, San Diego)

o  Phone: (562) 377-6195

o  Email: erick.cornejo@sbdinc.com

Thank you, DeWalt, for being a WECA Industry Partner! Together, we look forward to continuing WECA’s tradition of innovation and excellence in the West. 

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Friday, April 5, 2024   When Is Entering and Leaving a Jobsite Compensable Work Time?

Guidance from Dennis Cook, Partner at Cook Brown, LLP

A WECA Industry Partner


 

When Is Entering and Leaving a Jobsite Compensable Work Time?

Guidance from Dennis Cook, Partner at Cook Brown, LLP

The question of when an employee’s compensable workday begins seems simple enough; it’s when an employee starts work, right? However, since California law says that “hours worked” includes all time when an employee is under the control of an employer or is suffered or permitted to work, the workday has been stretched to include time that historically may not have been treated as paid time.

The California Supreme Court reviewed another example of this recently in the case of Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors where the court analyzed three issues under Wage Order No. 16 applicable to onsite construction. One of these issues involved whether workers employed by an electrical contractor on a solar project who entered the jobsite in personal vehicles and waited at a security gate for a security guard to scan identification badges and inspect vehicles is compensable hours worked.  

The Court held that this time may be compensable “employer-mandated travel” under Section 5(A) of Wage Order No. 16 which says “All employer-mandated travel that occurs after the first location where the employee's presence is required by the employer shall be compensated at the employee's regular rate of pay or, if applicable, the premium rate … .” The Court said that an employee's presence is “required by the employer” within the meaning of Section 5(A) when it is for an employment-related reason and not for the practical necessity of reaching the worksite. 

In addition to time required for access and inspection at a security gate, other examples of compensable worktime at the beginning of the workday would include:

·        picking up tools or equipment at the shop before going to the jobsite;

·        coming to the shop or yard and loading material; and

·        having employees meet at the shop or other location to receive orders or directives.

General contractors usually control access to jobsites and subcontractors should be mindful of these rules. Generally, merely entering through a jobsite gate and travelling from the gate to a parking lot is not compensable worktime, but the court in the CSI case suggests that relevant factors to determine whether this time could be converted to compensable work time are:

·        the purpose served by the employee’s presence at the gate;

·        the activities that occur at the gate; and

·        how much time is spent there. 

The extent of travel restrictions on the jobsite will also be examined, but the court noted that rules designed to ensure safe, lawful, and orderly conduct while travelling are appropriate and do not impose a level of control causing the travel time to be compensable.

The court also reviewed the jobsite exiting process and imposed a stricter standard determining that an employee’s time spent on an employer’s premises awaiting and undergoing an employer-mandated exit procedure, including a visual inspection of the employee’s personal vehicle, is compensable work hours under Section 2(J) of Wage Order No. 16. While the court recognized that merely stopping at a gate in a parking garage probably is not compensable work time, it noted in this instance that “when an employee spends time on his employer's premises awaiting and undergoing an exit security procedure that includes a vehicle inspection causing delay and that is mandated by the employer for its own benefit, the employee—even when in his personal vehicle—is subject to the employer's control, and the time is compensable”. As noted, a good rule-of-thumb is to review the GC’s jobsite access procedures to determine the level of control related to the exiting procedure. Flashing a badge to exit is probably insufficient to require the time to be compensated, but if this is accompanied by a visual inspection, the time spent exiting may be converted to compensable work time.

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Friday, April 5, 2024   Davis-Bacon and Related Act Prevailing Wage Resource Book

Content Courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division


 

Content courtesy of: U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

On April 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) updated the Prevailing Wage Resource Book (PWRB). In light of the recent publication of the final rule, Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations, which took effect on October 23, 2023, WHD conducted a comprehensive review of the PWRB to simplify the language, restructure the format in a more intuitive manner, and provide additional guidance and examples where stakeholders routinely requested clarification.

Contractors, contracting agencies, enforcement staff, unions, associations, and workers have long relied upon the PWRB to gain a better understanding of the labor standards on certain federal and federally funded contracts including those involving the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA), the Service Contract Act (SCA), the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA), the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA), the Copeland "Anti-Kickback" Act, and Executive Orders impacting federal contracts.

The updated PWRB discusses WHD’s policies in a way that is more easily accessible to all stakeholders and provides them with a better understanding of the labor standards that apply to many federal and federally funded contracts. 

For more information on the labor standards on certain federal and federally funded contracts, please visit our Government Contracts Compliance Assistance webpage.

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Friday, April 5, 2024   Workplace Violence Prevention Planning

Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP


 

Content courtesy of: WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Virtually all California employers must have a workplace violence prevention plan in place by July 1, 2024. 

The Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Cal/OSHA's model plan offers a starting point for creating a compliant plan. In addition to a model workplace violence prevention plan, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has also published a general fact sheet to help employer’s create and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) that meets the requirements imposed by Labor Code section 6401.9. 

Read the rest of the plan here.

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Friday, April 5, 2024   Guidance on Compliance AB 2143/PUC 769.2 Reqs, Incl. Prevailing Wage and Certified Payroll Reporting

Get Guidance on Navigating Compliance Requirements Under AB 2143/PUC 769.2, Including Prevailing Wages and Certified Payroll Reporting?

Content Courtesy of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

Join us on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 1:00 PM for an informative webinar for the Solar-Utilities Reporting, Guidance, and Education (SURGE) initiative directed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). SURGE is the official platform for AB 2143 reporting and contractor support. This webinar is designed to provide solar contractors with essential guidance on navigating compliance requirements under AB 2143/PUC 769.2 which includes prevailing wages and certified payroll reporting.

For more information about SURGE, please visit our website. Additionally, if you have any questions about the event, please feel free to email events@cpucsurge.org.

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Friday, April 5, 2024   NAWIC Phoenix Chapter Had WECA at March Meeting

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Phoenix Chapter Had Heath Anderson, WECA Arizona's Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist, As Guest Speaker at March Meeting




 

Last week, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Phoenix Chapter invited Heath Anderson, WECA Arizona's Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist, to be a guest speaker at their chapter's March meeting.

The invitation spurred from WECA's chance encounter with Samantha Miller, Construction Operations and EHS Platform Account Executive for WECA Industry Partner ToolWatch, at the fall 2023 GC Expo. After learning more about WECA, ToolWatch became a WECA Industry Partner.

ToolWatch also shares WECA's passion for encouraging more women to join the electrical trade. To that end, Miller invited Heath to be a guest speaker at some ToolWatch events, on an episode of ToolWatch's Women in Innovation podcast in December, and at the NAWIC Phoenix Chapter meeting in March.

"The audience were great hosts and provided great discussion," Heath says of the NAWIC Phoenix Chapter meeting. "The members appreciated the efforts that have gone into the marketing materials aimed at helping women see the benefits of a career as an electrician."

Thank you, NAWIC and ToolWatch, for inviting Heath to be a guest speaker at the Phoenix Chapter's March meeting. Every chance we get to educate the industry on how to encourage women to pursue careers in the electrical trades is very gratifying.

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Friday, April 5, 2024   Don't Miss Out: There's Still a Chance to Join WECA and Cook Brown, LLP for Part Two of Our Webinar

Part 2 (Skilled and Trained Workforce) on Apr. 10

Registrations Are Complimentary for WECA Members as a Member Benefit


 

Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman for Part 2 of our two-part webinar series on April 10. Part 2 will focus on Skilled and Trained Workforce, where Carrie will discuss:

  • Recognizing to which types of projects Skilled and Trained Workforce requirements apply
  • Understanding apprentice graduation requirements
  • Compliance and enforcement

Register today to join us online on April 10, from 8:30 to 9:30 AM, for Part 2 of this informative webinar series.

This webinar is free for WECA Member Contractors and their employees. All others are $95/registration.

Register for the April 10 webinar here!

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