Pre-Apprenticeship Training Class Starts January 2018

Are you interested in a rewarding career in the Building and Construction Trades?

San Mateo County Union Community Alliance and Local Apprenticeship Programs are now offering a certificated, Pre-Apprenticeship Training course that will prepare trainees to enter the construction trades.

The free Trades Introduction Program provides trainees with the skills necessary to successful enter and complete a State-Certified Joint Apprenticeship Training Program, including:

  • Hands-on Training,
  • Reading Blue Prints,
  • An Overview of the Basic, Mechanical and Finish Trades,
  • Ability to Explore What Each Trade Has to Offer,
  • Tools and Materials,
  • First Aid/CPR and OSHA 10 Certification, and
  • Basic Math

Women, Veterans, At Risk Youth and Underserved Populations are encouraged to apply.

To apply, you must attend a mandatory orientation session, which takes place:

Saturday, January 13, 2018, 9 am
IBEW Local 617 Hall
1701 Leslie Street, Sam Mateo

For more information, please call 650.341.7711, or download the TIP Orientation Flyer [PDF].

This program is funded in part by the California Workforce Investment Board / Prop 39, San Mateo County Measure K, United Way of the Bay Area and PG&E

Local Coalition Responds to Trump Administration by Stepping up Efforts to Fight Wage Theft

By Paul Burton, San Mateo Labor Editor

A coalition of organizations, many of which led campaigns to raise the minimum wage in Bay Area cities, are stepping up their efforts to enforce local wage laws and to fight “wage theft” that robs workers of the pay they have earned.

At a press conference in Oakland January 5, advocates and low-wage workers talked about the need for minimum wage laws to be enforced so all workers, whether or not they are legally authorized to work in the United States, are paid for their labor.

Tina Sandoval joined Fight for $15 campaign to challenge “wage theft” at fast food restaurants

McDonald’s worker Tina Sandoval, an activist in the Fight for $15 movement, said workers at McDonald’s had won a settlement from the fast food giant for wage theft. “Whatever our legal status, it is not OK to take away the money we have earned,” she said.

Fast food worker Rico Johnson, also active in the Fight for $15, said, “Greedy corporations feel they can deny our wages and our wage increases. It makes the idea of achieving the American Dream a fallacy and leads to misery for workers. We deserve $15 and a union now, and greedy corporations deserve to be shut down if they deny us our earnings.”

Derek Schoonmaker of Centro Legal said community outreach and educating workers about their rights is an important part of making sure workers’ wages are paid. He said his organization represented insulation installers who had health issues due to exposure to hazardous materials but who feared coming forward to file complaints. “It takes community support and organizations for workers to feel safe about coming forward as they face real threats and retaliation from employers,” Schoonmaker said.

After Oakland voters passed a local minimum wage and sick leave law, the city council also set aside funding for community-based organizations to help workers protect their rights, file claims, and pursue remedies. “Oakland’s program borrowed from the successful programs in San Francisco and Seattle, because workers may be reluctant to go to a government entity but will go to a non-profit organization for help,” he said.

Bradley Cleveland from the Raise the Wage–San Mateo coalition said after last year’s successful campaign to raise the minimum wage in San Mateo, “This year we will focus on enforcing wage laws, because with a new administration in Washington, we don’t think the Department of Labor will enforce minimum wage laws.” With the nomination of a Fast Food executive to lead the U.S. Department of Labor, low-wage workers will depend on local and state agencies to investigate wage claims and enforce wage laws, he said.

Wage Coalition is using text messaging to educate low-wage workers about their rights under the new minimum wage law.

The Wage Coalition in San Mateo is using text messaging to spread the word about the new minimum wage. Workers who text “wages” or “salario” to 650.235.4969 will receive information — in English and Spanish — about the law and how to enforce their rights.

Minimum wage workers across the Bay Area saw pay increases of 20 percent or more take effect January 1, when the wage floor in a dozen cities rose to at least $12 an hour. The state minimum wage only rose 5 percent, from $10 to $10.50 an hour, and only increased for employers with 26 employees or more. Cleveland noted that workers often do not see these increases due to the persistent problem of wage theft. Wage theft occurs when employers underpay their workers, deny them legally required breaks, fail to pay overtime, force employees to work “off the clock,” misclassify employees as independent contractors, or fail to make required tax and insurance contributions, among other illegal practices. Wage theft is most common in labor intensive industries that pay by the hour—the restaurant industry, construction, and janitorial services—and most prevalent among immigrant workers. “We want to combat wage theft and ensure immigrant workers they will be protected,” Cleveland said.

The U.S. Department of Labor in the Obama Administration has played a key role battling wage theft nationally. In 2016, its Wage and Hour Division investigated 5,000 cases in the food services industry—recovering almost $40 million in back wages for 44,700 affected employees. In the construction industry, the Division investigated over 3,200 cases, winning $41.7 million for almost 27,000 workers.

Cesar Sanchez, a labor compliance investigator with, said wage theft cost California taxpayers $1.2 billion in lost wages and $774 million in lost tax revenue. “Every one of us is impacted by wage theft,” he said. is a project of Smart Cities Prevail, a construction industry organization that works to build public awareness of the impact wage theft has on the construction industry and the economy. The project provides tools for policy makers, employers, workers and the public that promote enhanced enforcement of state labor laws and prevention of wage theft on public works and multi-unit housing projects.

Sanchez said without local enforcement of wage laws, some contractors take advantage of workers. “Shady contractors can just declare bankruptcy and shift ownership under new names,” he said. The cities of San Jose and Berkeley have enacted strong wage theft prevention ordinances that deny permits or licenses to contractors engaging in fraud or violating wage laws.

Ken Jacobs of the UC Berkeley Labor Center calls for more local-state coordination.

Ken Jacobs, Chair, UC Berkeley Labor Center, said cities and the state of California need to work together. He said 15 cities increased wages but studies show one in three minimum wage workers were victims of wage violations. Jacobs said while the state has a strong Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE), more needs to be done. He outlined some of the best practices for ensuring workers are fully paid for their work. He said education and outreach are important to make workers aware of their legal rights, and enforcement of wage laws needs to be pro-active. “Minimum wage workers are a vulnerable population and are less likely to speak up and complain,” he said. Jacobs said San Francisco’s OLSE audits compliance, targeting industries known for wage theft. He added that enforcing agencies need to be staffed and cities need to work with local organizations that have connections in their communities.


Minimum Wage Rises on January 1st

Low-wage workers in the City of San Mateo, and in other cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, see a big boost in their pay checks beginning on January 1, 2017, when the city’s minimum wage hits $12 an hour. The state minimum wage also goes up, but only to $10.50 an hour.

Raise the Wage – San Mateo, the labor-community coalition that led the successful campaign for the wage hike, is working with advocates from around the San Francisco Bay Area to fight “wage theft” that robs workers of the pay they have earned.

Workers can also contact the Raise the Wage Coalition directly for free and confidential information by texting “wages” to 1.650.235.4969.

Wage theft occurs when employers underpay their workers, deny them legally required breaks, fail to pay overtime, force employees to work “off the clock,” misclassify employees as independent contractors, fail to make required tax and insurance contributions, among other illegal practices. Wage theft is most common in labor intensive industries that pay by the hour—the restaurant industry, construction, and janitorial services.

The City of San Mateo has posted information about the new minimum wage ordinance on its website. The city is distributing a Frequently Asked Questions flyer (FAQs  | FAQs en Español) that summarizes the new regulation, and an Informational Flyer y en español.


Interested in the Building Trades? Enroll in TIP

BuildFutureThe Trades Introduction Program, TIP San Mateo, offers a free, six month pre-apprenticeship course that will prepare you for a career in the building trades. In cooperation with state certified joint apprenticeship training programs, TIP San Mateo delivers the nationally approved Multi-Craft Core curriculum and prepares trainees to enter a green construction career ladder.

The course will help trainees navigate the construction sector, offering you exposure to a wide variety of trades and what it takes to choose an appropriate career path for your skills and interests, and prepare you to apply to an apprentice program. Upon completion of the course, graduates will receive a Certificate that will help you compete for a slot in one of the building trades apprenticeship programs.

You must attend the TIP Orientation to qualify for the pre-apprenticeship course.

TIP Orientation
Saturday, January 7, 2017, 9 am Sharp
IBEW Local 617 Union Hall, 1701 Leslie Street, San Mateo

Disadvantaged youth, women, under-served minorities and veterans/people who served in the military are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more information about the TIP Orientation [PDF], please contact Rayna Lehman, 650.341.7711.

TIP Sheet: Plumbers, Sheetmetal, EBMUD Programs

plumbersPlumbers Locals in San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties have announced the application periods for their 2017 apprenticeship programs.

Plumbers 342
Alameda and Contra Costa counties
February 6, 2017 through February 10, 2017, 8 am to Noon
UA Local 342 Training Center, 935 Detroit Avenue, Concord, CA 94518

After applying, you will be scheduled to take the mechanical aptitude and math tests. The minimum passing score on the tests is 70% to qualify you for an interview. You are not required to find an employer to sponsor you for plumbing, pipefitting, and welding. You are required to find a sponsor for the HVAC apprenticeship program. Check the Plumbers 342 flyer for more information.

Plumbers 467
San Mateo County
Monday, March 20, 2017 through Thursday, April 6, 2017 (weekdays only), 2 to 4 pm only
1519 Rollins Road, 2nd Floor, Burlingame, California

Please note: only the first 150 applications will be accepted. Bring your TIP Certificate to bypass the math test. For more information about the application process, check out the Plumbers 467 flyer.

Sheetmetal 104 is now offering TIP Graduates direct entry for every 1 in 10 regular indentures! This means once you apply and pass the basic math test, you will be placed in a special ranking order that will increase your chances of apprenticeship.

Applications are accepted on the first and third Tuesday of each month — December 20th, January 3rd and 17th, 2017 — from 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. Testing and applications must be completed in person at 1939 Market Street, San Francisco.

Minimum Qualifications, at the time of application:

  • 18 years of age or older or 17 with a parent or legal guardians signature
  • Photo identification, such as a valid driver’s license, passport, or state issued photo I.D.
  • High School Diploma, transcript, G.E.D. or High School Proficiency test in English translation
  • Physically able to perform the work of the trade

Bring your TIP Certification to be placed on the Direct Entry list. Remember, you must get at least 80% on the math test to pass. For more information, check out the Sheetmetal 104 flyer.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District is hiring an Electrical Technician to maintain, repair, and install electrical and electronic circuits, motors, controls and equipment used in large water distribution systems and wastewater treatment facilities. The minimum requirements are completing journey electrician status, or having similar work experience. Salary range is $7,393 to $8,559 a month.

Read the job description, or apply for the EBMUD position.

TIP Sheet: Painters and Allied Trades

paintersDistrict Council 16, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, is offering 6 months wage credit for TIP Graduates! This means you automatically receive your first eligible raise from the start of your apprenticeship.

You must make an appointment in advance to submit an application. Testing space is limited, so call the Training Center as soon as possible, 510.785.8467, for more information and to schedule an appointment. Be sure to mention that you are a TIP graduate.

  • Drywall Finisher: Wednesday December 14th at 10 am. Starting wage for TIP Grads $24.08 per hour (less union dues and vacation contribution)
  • Painters, Tapers, Highway Stripers: Wednesday December 14th at 10 am. Starting wage for TIP Grads $20.79er hour (less union dues and vacation contribution)
  • Floor Coverers: Tuesday December 13th at 9 am. Starting wage for TIP Grads $25.78 per hour (less union dues and vacation contribution)

All applications and exams are given at 2020 Williams Street, Suite A, San Leandro, CA 94577. For more information about these trades, go to District Council 16 .

TIP Sheet: IBEW Programs

ibew-logoIBEW apprenticeship programs around the Bay Area will be accepting applications for their training programs in January. If you are interested in applying to these IBEW programs, follow these links for more information:

  • IBEW 332, Santa Clara County, January 4th, 2017, 9 am to Noon
  • IBEW 595, Alameda County, January 27th 2017, 8 am to 4 pm
  • IBEW 551, North Bay, January 4th, 2017, 1 to 4:30 pm
  • IBEW 180, Solano-Napa Counties, December 12th & 14th, and January 9th & 11th, from 1 to4 pm

San Mateo County Enacts “Living Wage” Ordinance

LivWage2Low-wage employees of contractors who provide services to San Mateo County will see their pay rise to $17 per hour, under the county’s new Living Wage Ordinance. The ordinance goes into effect January 1, 2017, when wages rise to $14 an hour, with a second hike to $15 an hour six months later; a third raise to $16 on July 1, 2018; before hitting $17 an hour on July 1, 2019.

While the Living Wage Ordinance covers all businesses that provide services to the county, Supervisor Carole Groom highlighted the work of nonprofit contractors in her remarks at the October 18th Board meeting.

“We value the contribution of employees of our nonprofits who perform services to the county,” such as substance abuse counseling, mental health and health care services. Groom added, “These nonprofit agencies will have an easier time recruiting and retaining employees.”

The Raise the Wage Coalition, led by the San Mateo Labor Council and the SMC Union Community Alliance, pressed county supervisors for an ordinance to ensure that when the county contracts with an outside business for services that these taxpayer dollars were not creating poverty-level jobs. The coalition argued that a single adult living in San Mateo County would need to earn at least $17 an hour to cover just the basic costs of living — housing, food, transportation and health care.

The Board of Supervisors responded by establishing a committee, chaired by Supervisors Groom and Dave Pine, to study the issue. San Mateo Labor Council Director of Community Services Rayna Lehman and representatives of the county’s nonprofit contract agencies served on the committee, which met during the winter and spring of 2016.

With the adoption of the Living Wage Ordinance, Lehman said, “The county is working to address income inequality. We are excited to work in partnership with the county as it implements and enforces the new ordinance.”

The Raise the Wage Coalition will continue to monitor the implementation of the ordinance to ensure there are no unintended consequences. Specifically, if the county does not provide sufficient funding to its nonprofit contractors, these agencies might be forced to cut services or staff in order to finance the higher salaries.

The county will increase its contracts with nonprofit agencies by $4.2 million over the next two years to fund higher staff salaries.

While county staff incorporated a number of improvements in the final ordinance, based on comments from the wage coalition and its nonprofit agencies, in a letter to the Board of Supervisors, the coalition raised a number of concerns involving the ordinance’s implementation:

  • The County should fully fund the costs of the living wage to ensure the ordinance does not result in cuts in staff or services at nonprofit agencies;
  • Annual reviews of the ordinance’s effectiveness should include any investigations, audits, and enforcement actions taken to ensure compliance; and requests for exemptions and for budget enhancements; and
  • The County should conduct random payroll audits of its contractors to ensure compliance, rather than solely relying on employee complaints.

TIP Sheet for November 2016

power_plantPG&E Power Pathways has scheduled two opportunities for additional training in electrical power systems.

Oakland | Cypress Mandela

  • The free training sessions are 16 weeks long and classes are held each weekday from 7am to 3:30pm. Go to Cypress Mandela for more information, or register online for the next orientation session, Thursday, December 15, 2016, at 8:30 a.m., at the Caldrons Auditorium,  111 Grand Ave. Oakland.

College of San Mateo

  • The program is four semesters long. Classes are offered during the day, usually between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., and in the evening, from 6 and 10 p.m. The program cost $46 per unit, plus college fees, books and supplies. Course textbooks run about $125/class; notebooks, writing materials, and a scientific calculator will run about $50. For more information, go to the College of San Mateo, or register online for orientation.
    All orientation sessions are held at 1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard, CSM Building 5, Room 202, San Mateo. The next orientation dates are:

Saturday, November 12, 2016, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Saturday, December 10, 2016, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 7, 2017, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.


TIP Sheet for October 2016

carpentersCarpenters Union Opportunity

The San Mateo County Carpenters’ Union is accepting applications for its Pre-Apprenticeship Program.  This is one of the best opportunities out there to get the training you need to enter their apprenticeship program.

There are only a limited number of spots available, so apply as soon as possible. When applying, you can select “DO3-Pleasanton” as your District Office, and “San Mateo County: as your geographical area.

You can apply online, or you can print and mail the Carpenters Application form to:

Attn: Application Department
Carpenters Training Committee
2350 Santa Rita Road
Pleasanton, CA 94566

For more information on the program, visit the Carpenters’ Union Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

ironworkersFree Ironworkers Class in 2017

The Ironworkers are also accepting applications for their free training class that focuses on developing the skills needed to enter into the reinforcing ironwork industry. These classes, offered through a JATC Training Center, can lead to a local apprenticeship opportunity in your area.

Course Schedule:

February 21 to March 10, 2017
6:30 A.M. TO 3 P.M., Monday through Friday
Ironworkers Training Center

3150 Bayshore Road, Benicia

If you are interested in this three week class, you must call 707-746-7666 by Friday, January 27th, 2017, to reserve a seat for the mandatory class orientation. The orientation takes place on Monday, January 30th, at 4 p.m.

Learn more about the Ironworkers Class [PDF], check out the University of Iron, or go to their FaceBook page.