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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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Thursday, April 11, 2024   WECA Political Update April 11, 2024

Prop 1 – Taxpayer Rip-off?

WECA opposed Proposition 1 on the March ballot, noting that the $6.38 billion general obligation bond followed $9.2 billion in relief payments—known as the Middle Class Tax Refund (MCTR)—to qualifying recipients. The MCTR was timed to coincide with Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 re-election campaign – even though he was running against a token Republican opponent, State Senator Brian Dahle from Bieber. Dahle received 40.8% of the November vote, considerably higher than the 24% Republican registration, suggesting many DTS and possibly registered Democrats were tired of Newsom.

Prop. 1 promises to fund behavioral health treatment, residential facilities, and supportive housing for veterans and individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness with behavioral health challenges. These are laudable goals but also proverbial “drop in the bucket.” In early 2023, over 181,000 Californians were counted as experiencing homelessness. These funds are estimated to create only 4,350 housing units, with 2,350 set aside for veterans and 6,800 mental health and substance use treatment places for approximately 11,150 new behavioral health and supportive housing units statewide.

Prop. 1 will also shift dollars from counties to the state (from about 5% of total Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding to about 10%). This would result in about $140 million annually redirected to the state budget. However, this amount could be higher depending on the total revenue collected from the tax.

The MHSA restructuring will result in significantly less funding for core services, which could lead to counties:

·      Canceling contracts with community-based organizations. 

·      Closing programs that are currently serving Californians.

·      Reducing county staffing.

But back to the MCTR. Rather than have the state’s own financial system issue checks to taxpayers to facilitate these payments, the state hired Money Network Financial, LLC. This out-of-state vendor provides financial services. Under the agreement, Money Network produced and distributed debit cards and provided cardholders with customer service and fraud prevention services. Although MCTR issued payments relatively quickly, according to a recent audit, the provisions of the state’s agreement with Money Network created “certain difficulties related to the administration of the payments.”

The audit noted several critical deficiencies.

·      FTB did not ensure that Money Network consistently provided the required level of customer service to cardholders. Although Money Network received more than 29 million calls—the vast majority of which were handled by its automated system—Money Network did not answer nearly 900,000 of the roughly two million phone calls from callers seeking to speak with an agent about the MCTR program or issues with their debit cards. Weaknesses in FTB’s agreement with Money Network made holding Money Network accountable for its lack of customer service difficult.

·      Although Money Network reported a fraud rate to FTB of less than 1% of the amount distributed through debit cards, the state cannot determine the precise level of fraud in the MCTR program because Money Network did not answer a substantial portion of cardholder calls and has not specifically tracked fraud in the program.

·      Because the agreement’s payment structure bundles most services into a single per-card rate, FTB paid to Money Network nearly 90% of the agreement’s total cost in the first 15 months of the 49-month agreement period. This front-loaded payment structure does not fully safeguard the best interests of the state. In addition, the agreement with Money Network does not include provisions that would allow FTB to assess agreed-upon liquidated damages if Money Network does not comply with agreement terms—provisions found in other state agreements for similar services.

Finally, many debit card recipients have yet to activate their cards. According to information that Money Network provided to FTB, more than one million debit cards worth approximately $611 million in payments had not yet been activated by their recipients as of January 2024.

Time will tell if Prop. 1 will improve homelessness or mental health services. Still, if the history of the MCTR or Governor Newsom’s secretive $1-billion mask deal with Chinese automaker BYD is any bellwether, I am not expecting great results. 

Close Races

In CD-16 (San Mateo), former mayor Sam Licardo won the top slot for the November run-off. Assembly Member Evan Low and Supervisor (and former Assembly Member, former State Senator) Joe Simitian tied for number 2 and 3.

But here’s where, as Politico put it, “In a race that just keeps getting weirder, a Silicon Valley voter who called for a recount in [this] tied House primary election once worked for [Licardo]. The filing says it was made on behalf of candidate Evan Low, who, until this week, was heading to a three-way race in November. But Low vehemently opposes the recount, and the request came from a former staffer for ex-San Jose Mayor Sam Licardo, who advanced to the November general election weeks ago after finishing in first place. Voter Jonathan Padilla agreed to pay more than $300,000 for the recount. He worked for Licardo’s 2014 mayoral campaign and as a policy director for the City of San Jose in 2015 and 2016 while Licardo was mayor. He also donated $1,000 to Licardo’s campaign in December. A spokesperson for Licardo’s campaign denies working with Padilla or funding the recount. Low’s campaign isn’t convinced. ‘There’s zero doubt that Sam Licardo orchestrated this recount and Padilla’s declaration that the recount is on our campaign's behalf is simply disingenuous. Clearly, Sam Licardo doesn’t think he can win a three-way race because he’s showing he will do anything to avoid one,’ spokesperson Whitney Larsen told Politico recently on behalf of Low, bemoaning the ‘expensive and time-consuming’ recount.

A poll funded by the Licardo campaign shows Licardo still has a modest lead: 26%, followed by Low, 2%, Simitian, 20%, and 24% undecided.

In CD-45 (Fountain Valley), Michelle Steel (R) is in first place and will face Derek Tran in this D+5.2 district. Steel defeated Democrat Jay Chen by under 5% in 2022, and the DCCC placed CD-45 on its 2024 target list.

In AD-2, Republican Michael Greer came out on top with 27% of the vote. But in this D+28 district consisting of the counties of Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino and portions of Sonoma, he will have a tough election against second-place finisher Santa Rosa Council Member Chris Rogers.

In AD-6 (Sacramento), Democrat Maggy Krell will face Republican Nikki Ellis in this D+30 Assembly seat.

In AD-58 (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties), Democrat Clarissa Cervantes came in second to Republican Leticia Castillo in this D+18 district, meaning this race was decided in March.

In AD-75, former Republican San Diego Council Member Carl DeMaio received 42.9% of the vote and will face another Republican, Andrew Hayes. The result caused a bit of turmoil in San Diego. Story

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ABC Chapter Sues over Biden’s PLA Rule

ABC and its Florida First Coast chapter filed suit to stop the Biden administration’s scheme to mandate PLAs on construction contracts procured by federal agencies. ABC’s complaint asserts that President Joe Biden lacks the legal and constitutional authority to impose a new federal regulation, injuring the economy and efficiency in federal contracting and illegally steering construction contracts to certain unionized contractors, which employ roughly 10% of the U.S. construction workforce. Story

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California Supreme Court Clarifies the Scope of “Hours Worked” Under California Law

On March 25, 2024, the California Supreme Court issued a highly anticipated decision in Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors, Inc. The court responded to the request from the Ninth Circuit to answer three questions about Wage Order No. 16 and clarify the scope of the term “hours worked.” Although the case discusses the “hours worked” standard in the context of the construction industry, the decision is likely to impact every industry, especially businesses that require employees to go through security checks at the beginning and end of the workday and businesses that confine employees to specific areas of company property during meal breaks. More

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California Isn’t Coming for Your AC (Yet)

The California Energy Commission stopped short recently of pushing homeowners to install heat pumps to replace worn-out central air conditioners. The reason? Cost. “It was a difficult case to make, in terms of both the additional costs up front and then also potentially causing real energy costs overall to increase for some customers,” Commissioner Andrew McAllister told reporters. It was a blow for heat pumps, which are supposed to proliferate to 6 million in California by 2030 with support from federal tax incentives of up to $2,000 and additional state incentives.

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New Sacramento Parking Garage at SMF

Sacramento-based Otto Construction was awarded the $229 million Design/Build contract. This will be the firm’s second parking garage project at SMF as they also constructed the Terminal A garage in 2004. Otto said at the award they were comfortable with building under a PLA—which was mandated by a 3-2 vote by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year.

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California Legislature Sends Gavin Newsom Budget Deal to Slash Deficit 

Legislation that will reduce California’s budget deficit by $17.3 billion through spending cuts, deferrals, and other measures is headed for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. The state Assembly and Senate approved Assembly Bill 106 along party lines today, advancing part of a deal negotiated by Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders over the past few weeks. The governor is expected to sign the legislation. Assembly Budget Chair Jesse Gabriel said the package was a first step and that the Legislature has the right to revisit the cuts and delays depending on future revenue figures.

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Celebrating 13 Years of Serving Military-Connected Job Seekers 

March officially marked 13 years of Hiring Our Heroes! They have been dedicated to driving positive change for transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers for over a decade. Here's to another 13 years of empowering the nation’s heroes and making a lasting difference together! Information

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Solar to Supreme Court

Politico writes the dispute over the value of rooftop solar is going to the California Supreme Court, which agreed Wednesday to hear a challenge from environmental groups to a 2022 California Public Utilities Commission decision.

The court agreed to hear the Center for Biological Diversity and two other groups' appeal of a lower appellate court's December ruling that upheld the CPUC's decision to slash rooftop solar reimbursements in its net energy metering program by about 75%. The development is a victory for the solar industry, and some environmental groups are pushing on multiple fronts for California to make small-scale solar power a central part of its transition to clean energy and utility-scale renewables. CBD senior attorney Roger Lin called it a "ray of hope" for the rooftop solar industry, which layoffs and bankruptcies have buffeted.

When the CPUC reduced the reimbursements, commissioners said the higher payments of the past had served their purpose of growing a mature rooftop market in the state. Since the programs are subsidized by people without panels (to the tune of $6.5 billion per year, according to a recent analysis), it was time to reduce them, commissioners said.

In their lawsuit, the CBD, Environmental Working Group, and the Protect Our Communities Foundation said that the CPUC had failed to fully account for rooftop solar’s social benefits, hadn't sufficiently promoted renewable energy, and had overlooked disadvantaged communities.

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Biden: ‘Union labor and American steel’ will rebuild Key Bridge

Standing in front of the crumbled wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, President Joe Biden re-upped his commitment to the federal government funding the span’s replacement, saying he would “move heaven and earth” to rebuild it quickly. During a windswept afternoon on the banks of the Patapsco River, the president said the top priority remains opening the channel for port traffic and emphasized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ goal to clear a path for commercial vessels by the end of May. Biden said the new bridge would be built “with union labor and American steel,” as he stood on the grounds of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police headquarters, about a half mile east of the span. Story

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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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Thursday, March 28, 2024   WECA Political Update March 28, 2024


 

Election Analysis Based on Unofficial Results. Results will be certified by April 12, 2024

Prop 1 Won by a Thread

It is passing by just 27,218 votes out of over 7.3 million cast. But the fallout is interesting. While Gavin Newsom called the win “huge,” two Orange County cities – Newport Beach and Huntington Beach – have severed ties with the California League of Cities over the League's support of Prop 1. Proposition 1 allows for a by right, streamlined approval process for developments funded by the bond. Developments that fall under the category of behavioral health treatment residential settings and drug addiction treatment facilities are included. If projects meet criteria and receive funding through the bond, cities can apply objective design standards to these projects. Still, they will otherwise be limited in slowing down or stopping a project from being constructed.

You can see the Secretary of State election reporting here.

Close Races

In CD-16 (San Mateo), former mayor Sam Licardo holds the top slot for the November run-off. Assembly Member Evan Low and Supervisor (and former Assembly Member, former State Senator) Joe Simitian are dueling for number two. As of March 26, only two votes separate the two in what will be a D-on-D race later this year. Both sides have said they’d expect a re-count. This is a D+37 district, so Licardo is probably disappointed that two Republicans were on the March ballot, splitting the R vote.

In CD-45 (Fountain Valley), Michelle Steel (R) is in first place, and two Democrats are fighting to run against her in November. About 200 votes separate Kim Bernice Nguyen-Penaloza and Derek Tran in this D+5.2 district. Steel defeated Democrat Jay Chen by under 5% in 2022, and the DCCC placed CD45 on its 2024 target list.

In AD-2, Republican Michael Greer came out on top with 27% of the vote. But in this D+28 district consisting of Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties and portions of Sonoma County, he doesn’t stand a chance against likely second-place finisher, Santa Rosa Councilmember Chris Rogers.

In AD-6 (Sacramento), Maggy Krell will defeat the likely second-place finisher in this D+30 Assembly seat being vacated by Kevin McCarty, who, for some reason, wants to return to the Sacramento City Council he left to run for Assembly in 2014. McCarty came in second in his race for mayor and will face novice politician Dr. Flojaune Cofer. Flo promises to “solve our homelessness and housing crisis, make our streets safer, and create thousands of quality jobs while protecting our climate.” That may be tough in a city facing a $60 million deficit in a strong economy.

In AD-8 (Fresno), two Republicans, former Representative George Radanovich and David Tangipa, will face off in November. The big question is where the Democrats who supported Caleb Helsel will go. Will they stay home?

In AD-58 (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties), which Democrat will face Republican Leticia Castillo in November? About 200 votes separate Ronaldo Fierro and Clarissa Cervantes in this D+18 district. Cervantes is the Riverside Council sister of incumbent Sabrina Cervantes, who decided to move up to the “bigs,” thus giving her sister a shot at moving to Sacramento. Sis may have hurt her chance with two DUIs, but maybe voters in the district are willing to forgive and forget – kind of like Dave Min in CD-47. Ok, Dave only has one DUI.

In AD-75, former Republican San Diego Councilmember (there were Republicans on the San Diego City Council?) Carl DeMaio ended up with 43% of the vote and will face either Republican Andrew Hayes or Democrat Kevin Juza. Only 600 votes separate those two in the R+11 district. Hayes had a lock on the seat until DeMaio entered the race.

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2024 OFCCP Certification Cycle Announced

In 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) began requiring that federal contractors and subcontractors subject to the affirmative action requirements of Executive Order 11246 annually certify that they are meeting their requirement to develop and maintain annual affirmative plans (AAPs). On March 25, 2024, OFCCP announced its third annual certification cycle. Beginning on April 1, 2024, OFCCP will accept certifications by federal contractors and subcontractors that they have developed and maintained compliant affirmative action programs for each establishment. Learn more

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California Releases Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently published guidance to assist employers in complying with Senate Bill 553 ahead of the law’s employer compliance date of July 1, 2024. SB 553 requires virtually all employers to develop, implement, and maintain an “effective” written workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP), train employees, and create and maintain extensive records regarding workplace violence.

The guidance includes a model WVPP for general industry (non-healthcare settings), and fact sheets for employers and employees. Employers must customize the model WVPP for their specific workforce. Under the law, only certain healthcare facilities, employees teleworking from locations of their choice and not under the control of their employers, and places of employment with fewer than ten employees and not accessible to the public are exempt from the law’s requirements. Although Cal/OSHA is not required to adopt workplace violence standards until December 31, 2026, it may begin enforcing the law on July 1, 2024. Thus, employers must now take steps to draft, implement, and train employees on their WVPPs. Story

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National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction scheduled for May

  • OSHA is gearing up for its 11th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, scheduled for May 6-10, 2024.
  • OSHA describes its Safety Stand-Down as a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.
  • The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction focuses on fall hazards and was created to reinforce the importance of fall prevention.
  • To help employers prepare for this year’s event, OSHA has developed a page that answers frequently asked questions about how to conduct a Safety Stand-Down, who can participate, how to receive a certificate of participation, and other information.

Read more

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NorCal Lost its Only BOI Investigator

Cal/OSHA's Bureau of Investigations (BOI) will have no personnel in Northern California following the resignation of Julio Alfaro, a senior investigator who was the lone BOI representative in the north state. Alfaro accepted a position outside of state government effective immediately. BOI, mandated by the California Labor Code, is responsible for criminal investigations involving workplace fatalities and serious injuries. It also refers cases to local prosecuting authorities. Alfaro's resignation follows last year’s resignation of Chris Kuhns, a 14-year veteran who left, he says, after being denied an opportunity to become a compliance safety and health officer at the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The BOI's vacancy rate is now 85%, with one investigator left for the entire State of California. The Bureau has no investigators in Northern California, one in Southern California, and a supervisor based in the South. The resignation adds to the Department of Industrial Relations staff shortage. DIR is actively recruiting and interviewing to fill its open positions. [Cal-OSHA Reporter]

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The Fletcher Lawsuit Mess

Grecia Figueroa’s lawsuit against former San Diego supervisor Nathan Fletcher keeps hitting snags. Figueroa is now parting ways with a second attorney in the case. She also failed to appear at a hearing Wednesday “where Fletcher’s lawyers were set to demand access to Figueroa’s phone and the phone of a witness, a friend of Figueroa’s,” as Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis reports. Figueroa is suing Fletcher and the Metropolitan Transit System, her former employer, for what she alleges were sexual harassment and assault by Fletcher. Fletcher, as part of his role as supervisor, was serving as chair of the MTS board at that time. Fletcher has reportedly reunited with his wife, Labor Fed CEO Lorena Gonzalez. More

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Despite Opposition, Phoenix Passes New Heat Regulations

Several construction firms say they already meet the new heat requirements established by the city of Phoenix, while others say the new requirements raise questions that could negatively impact schedules and budgets.

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Dave Everett (left), WECA's new Southern California Government Relations Representative, is shown giving a tour of WECA's Riverside Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center to San Bernardino City Councilman Damon Alexander (center) last Fall.

New Face at WECA

WECA is happy to announce an official addition to our Government Relations team! Dave Everett was hired earlier this month to serve as our Southern California Government Relations Representative. Dave has been working closely with our Government Relations team in a related capacity for the past few years, and will now focus on our San Diego and Riverside facilities while advocating for the merit shop philosophy and your ability as a WECA member to work in the greater area.

Dave’s hiring aligns directly with the Board’s Government Relations plan. By entrenching ourselves in the regions surrounding our campuses, we can more effectively impact grassroots and grass tops activities.

Dave’s background includes serving as a Political Consultant for Southern California Congress, Assembly, and County Supervisor candidates, the Government Affairs Director for the Associated Builders and Contractors Southern California Chapter (ABC SoCal), Executive Director for the Republican Party of Orange County, and District Director for former California State Assemblyman Van Tran. In each position, Dave worked closely with many top elected officials, organizations, and media outlets throughout Southern California.

Starting his political career by getting his political science degree from the University of California, Riverside, Dave then worked for Congressman Ken Calvert on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Liaison. The time in D.C. allowed him to learn a lot about the legislative process and even the opportunity to help pass several bills on the House floor. After returning to Southern California, Everett worked for Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, O’Reilly Public Relations, and served as Executive Director of the Riverside County GOP before taking the position with Assemblyman Tran in early 2006.

Dave’s passions are free enterprise, investing in infrastructure, reducing overburdensome regulations on California’s job creators, and anything involving the Los Angeles Angels baseball team or Los Angeles Lakers. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Nicole and resides in Costa Mesa, California, with their two daughters, Hailey and Summer.

Welcome, Dave!

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Baskin-Robbins Opening New Fresno Location

Thirty-one people can win free ice cream for a year if they win a Baskin-Robbins contest at their new Fresno location. It’s all happening at the Saturday grand opening of the newest Baskin-Robbins at 8959 N. Cedar Ave., near Shepherd Avenue in the same shopping center as Vons. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I think we know where Rex Hime will be on Saturday morning. Read more here

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Celebrating the WECA Utah Apprenticeship Class of 2024: Save the Date (June 22nd) for Graduation!

WECA Utah apprentice graduates: Save the date! WECA's 2024 Commencement Ceremonies for our Utah Graduating Apprenticeship Class of 2024 will be held on June 22nd!

Grads: Please watch your inboxes for ticketing details as this event draws closer.

We look forward to celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of our first-ever graduating Utah class!

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   WECA's Open House in Celebration of Women in Construction Week 2024 a Success


 

WECA held its annual Women in Construction Week open house on Thursday, March 7 at its California headquarters and training facility in Rancho Cordova, CA.

The event drew numerous women interested in exploring career opportunities in the electrical and low voltage industries.

Diane Trotter, WECA's Workforce Development Supervisor, hosted the open house.

During the open house, Diane hosted a presentation and Q&A session for attendees before showing them around WECA's state-of-the-art labs and classrooms. During the presentation and Q&A portion of the open house, Diane was joined by Autumn Jackson, WECA Commercial and Low Voltage Apprenticeship graduate and current foreperson for Vanden Bos Electric, Amanda Young, a second-year Low Voltage apprentice, and Hershel Baser, an Apprenticeship Consultant for the Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

Autumn spoke about her current role at Vanden Bos Electric and shared what she gained from her apprenticeships at WECA, while Amanda discussed her current apprenticeship experience, stating that she enjoys learning things in class that she doesn't get to learn in the field because it makes her a more well-rounded apprentice.

For the lab and classroom tour portion of the open house, Diane was joined by Jimmie Slemp, Lead Instructor and Lab Manager, and LaKeal Morris, Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship instructor. Jimmie and LaKeal performed and assisted attendees with hands-on lab demonstrations.

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the Women in Construction Week 2024 open house! We were thrilled to educate more women on the merits of electrical and low voltage apprenticeships and careers in California, and can't wait to see them become WECA apprentices or electrician trainees in our certificate program soon!

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Coming Soon: New Data Center Labs for Low Voltage Apprenticeship in Sacramento and San Diego

Stay Tuned for More Progress Pics









Caught in the act--of a new build-out for our Low Voltage apprenticeship labs in Sacramento and San Diego! Here's instructor John Arias getting a helping hand from CEO Don Black in carrying some building materials for our new-and-improved "Data Center" labs.

Our Low Voltage apprentices currently practice installing structured cabling systems for telecommunications and data transfer; the expanded lab spaces we're building will allow them to expand on those skills with more practice preparing and inspecting the copper and fiber optic components commonly found in equipment and telecomm spaces. Data Centers are a solution for companies that need to store massive amounts of data in secured spaces. Stay tuned for further build pics as we bring this new lab space to life in both locations!

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Commercial Apprentices: New Info About Health Benefits Plan Now Available in Your Dashboard

Commercial Electrical apprentices: We've just uploaded new information about your Acupuncture and Chiropractic Health Benefits Plan coverage. Login to your secure apprentice dashboard at GOWECA.COM and go to "Commercial Apprentice Benefits" to view your new coverage document.
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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Advanced Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Students: Spots Open in April 10 GetWired 303 Course

Advanced Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Ed Students:

By Popular Demand, We've Opened More Seats in the GetWired 303: Blueprint Reading Part 3, Planning Commercial Electrical Installations for New Construction Course Starting April 10th

Get Yours Before They're Gone

GetWired 303: Blueprint Reading Part 3: Planning Commercial Electrical Installations for New Construction is the eleventh course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

Build on the skills you learned in GetWired 301 and 302 by getting “hands on” experience planning commercial electrical installations. Identify needed resources, job specifications, applicable codes, and information from the owner/architect, and AHJ and coordinate them all with specific blueprints. This course includes three projects you'll work on independently, with guidance from an instructor, including:

  • Assignment 1 - Job pre-planning
  • Assignment 2 - Preliminary electrical room layout
  • Assignment 3 - Plan conflict-free electrical installations

This course is not for beginners. Students enrolled in GetWired 303 should:

  • Have basic blueprint reading experience (including A, C, L, M, P, and E sheets)
  • Have experience using construction documents and electrical specifications (equipment cut-sheets, submittals, electrical contracts, RFI, change orders, and more)
  • Have a good understanding of electrical theory
  • Have considerable experience using the National Electrical Code
 
  • Total class hours available: 32
  • Standard tuition fee: $349

The next class starts on Apr. 10. Don't miss out--enroll today!

Enroll in GetWired 303!

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Electrician Trainees: Spring Session Starts Soon; Check Out April GetWired 202, 203, and 204 Classes


 

GetWired 202 Three-Phase Electrical Systems, Conductors and Overcurrent Protection, Grounding, Wiring Methods, Basic Trigonometry and Vectors

Starts: April 8

GetWired 202 expands on the concepts and skills built in the 201 courses. Topics covered include: conductors and overcurrent protection; types of three-phase transformers; three-phase transformer calculations and connections; grounding; wiring methods, basic trigonometry and vectors, and sizing branch circuits (hands-on lab).

Total class hours available: 36

Standard tuition fee: $389

Click here to enroll in GetWired 202 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

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GetWired 203 Raceway Systems, Switchboards and Panelboards, DC Motors, Three-Phase Alternators and Motors

Starts: April 9

GetWired 203 expands on skills built in the 202 courses. Topics covered include: wiring materials; raceway systems and cable assemblies; switchboards and panelboards; DC motors; three-phase alternators and generators; equipment for general use, and lighting automation (hands-on lab).

Total class hours available: 39

Standard tuition fee: $389

Click here to enroll in GetWired 203 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

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GetWired 204 Transformers, Special Locations and Single-Phase Motors

Starts: April 8

GetWired 204 expands on skills taught in the 203 courses. Topics covered include: transformers; special locations; hazardous locations; healthcare facilities; places of assembly; commercial garages and motor fuel dispensing facilities; motors, generators, A/C and refrigeration and fire pumps; series-parallel circuits; basic lighting control (hands-on lab), and single-phase motors.

Total class hours available: 39

Standard tuition fee: $389

Click here to enroll in GetWired 204 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Apprentices: Take Advantage of Your SmartDollar Benefit During Financial Literacy Month in April

Content Courtesy of SmartDollar



Week 1: Budgeting



Week 2: Paying off Debt



Week 3: Saving



Week 4: Retirement

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Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- getting started is easy! Learn how below.

SmartDollar is a financial wellness benefit for WECA apprentices. We announced our partnership with the Dave Ramsey-founded online financial wellness platform in January, 2021 to provide our apprentices with a sound foundation in personal finance management. This benefit is available to all WECA apprentices free of charge. Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions!

What is SmartDollar? SmartDollar is a step-by-step approach to handling money with the number-one authority in personal finance, Dave Ramsey. More than 4.5 million people have started on Dave's plan and taken control of their money, and you can too! SmartDollar will equip you to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a strong financial foundation.

The average person pays off $9,405 of debt and saves $6,127 in the first twelve months, and you can too!

"This program is powerful yet simple to understand. The Baby Steps make understanding how to win with money easy! Dave's lessons are fun, informative, and incredibly encouraging. It really doesn't feel like I'm taking a financial course. It's more like learning finances from a good friend...or a financially savvy stand-up comedian! The online tools are fantastic as well, and I love being able to 'ASK DAVE' any question and do my budget online. Love it all!" - Recent participant

With SmartDollar, you'll learn how to...

  • Jump-start your money
  • Knock out debt
  • Secure your dream home
  • Retire in style
  • Demystify your credit score

How does SmartDollar work? With so many ways to engage in SmartDollar activities and content, SmartDollar Points have been designed to encourage users to establish true behavior change. (Check out the graph below for a quick rundown). The greater the importance and required time of each activity, the greater the amount of points that can be earned. For example, each Core Lesson video completed is worth 250 points. Completing a shorter Deep Dive video is worth 50 points. Tracking a transaction in EveryDollar is only worth 20 points, but users are encouraged to track all their financial transactions with no points limitations. These example activities are key for building the confidence you need to reach your financial goals.





Taking advantage of your free financial wellness benefit, SmartDollar, is easy!

To set up your account after accessing your dashboard, click either of the links shown as highlighted in the screenshot to the right of this paragraph. You'll be taken to a page with a SmartDollar enrollment link, where you will be able to set up immediate access to this important benefit.

Ready to get started?

Login to your GOWECA dashboard

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Upcoming Opportunities to Participate in Panels and Forums

Women Apprentices and Electrician Trainees: Join WECA's Virtual Women in Electrical Trades Forum

All Apprentices: Make Your Voice Heard at WECA's Virtual Apprentice Advisory Panels
 

WECA's Virtual Women in Electrical Trades Forum

When: Thursday, April 4 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Diane Trotter at dtrotter@goweca.com
 

When: Thursday, July 11 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Diane Trotter at dtrotter@goweca.com

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WECA's Virtual Apprentice Advisory Panels
 

When: Thursday, May 2 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Jeanette Santos at jsantos@goweca.com
 

When: Thursday, August 1 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Jeanette Santos at jsantos@goweca.com

Read more >>