Contact: Nate Haderlie, Kabateck Strategies, [email protected], 916-430-9998


LIVERMORE, Calif., March 5, 2020— Proposition 13, the $15 billion school bond championed by Governor Gavin Newsom may become the first statewide school bond to fail in 26 years.

The measure intended to raise funds for new construction and renovations at schools and colleges across California was opposed by the Associated Builders and Contractors Northern California (ABC NorCal) because of the language written in it preferencing Project Labor Agreements (PLA) on projects funded by the measure.  ABC NorCal, with the ABC CA endorsement, sponsored and drove an effort against Proposition 13 that reached over 395,000 voters.

“We are a leader in building California’s schools and ensuring safe environments for our children to learn,” stated Michele Daugherty, President and CEO of ABC NorCal. “Proposition 13 included discriminatory PLA language that would have excluded many contractors, that have been building California schools for decades, from performing this important work in their own communities. It is our hope that future bond attempts remove any language giving preferences to PLAs and keep opportunities open for all qualified contractors.”

Since 2002, voters have approved $45 billion in bonds dedicated to schools. The last statewide bond approved by voters was four years ago for $9 billion dedicated to K-12 schools only.

“This primary the taxpayers have spoken. We need to be good stewards of California taxpayers’ funds if we want school bonds in the future,” continued Daugherty. “PLAs only drive up the cost of construction by excluding a majority of the industry.  PLAs do nothing to ensure fiscal responsibility; they are just another effort to secure that construction goes to special interest groups at an inflated cost to the taxpayer.”

Many non-union, or merit shop, companies deter from bidding on PLA sanctioned projects because they are obligated to staff a majority of trade union employees that they haven’t trained on company safety protocol and cannot use the apprentices they are training.


Representing more than 21,000 construction and industry-related firms nationwide, the Associated Builders and Contractors was founded in 1950 and today has 69 chapters. The ABC NorCal chapter started in 1976 and now represents 500 large and small companies and their workers across Northern California.