Developers and unions “not close” on deal to spur housing construction

Please subscribe to the Gimme Shelter podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloud, Google Play, Spotify or Overcast. 

In January, two of the biggest adversaries in California housing politics appeared on the verge of detente.

California developers and the construction unions that build their homes were reportedly near a deal that both sides hoped would unleash a bounty of homebuilding across the state. Developers would agree to employ more unionized carpenters, plumbers and other skilled craft workers on more housing projects at higher wages. And in exchange, construction unions would push for a more streamlined housing approval process yearned for by developers for decades. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration was involved in the negotiations, hoping a deal could spur construction of the 3.5 million new homes Newsom is hoping to build by 2025 to alleviate the state’s housing shortage.

While both sides continue to characterize the negotiations as ongoing, the head of the developers’ primary lobbying group in Sacramento is increasingly pessimistic that a deal can be done anytime soon.

“In my humble opinion, (the negotiations) weren’t close then and unfortunately they’re not close now,” Dan Dunmoyer, president of the California Building Industry Association, said on  “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast.”

“In the context of this year, we’re beginning to run out of time. I think the chances this year are pretty slim.”

Cesar Diaz, legislative director for the State Building and Construction Trades Council, said his group will meet with developers in the next two weeks to try to iron out remaining “roadblocks.” While Diaz conceded negotiations have been difficult, he sounded more upbeat on the prospect for compromise.

“This is a huge effort that, to be honest with you, it is very surprising to me how far we have gotten,” said Diaz. “Even though it is five months….We have actually sat down and started negotiating on actual legislative language.”

The inability of developers and labor to reach a deal is the latest example of how hope for ambitious state action on California’s housing woes has been tempered by the reality of Capitol politics. In this episode of “Gimme Shelter,” Matt Levin from CALmatters and Liam Dillon of the Los Angeles Times discuss the death or dilution of several major housing bills before a key legislative deadline last week, and what it means for the future of the state’s housing woes.

Latest in Economy

STANFORD, CA - August 28, 2016: Hayley Hodson at Maples Pavilion. The Stanford Cardinal defeated the University of Minnesota 3-1.

Economy

A modest proposal to deregulate NCAA sports

Economy

California’s new Public Utilities Commission president must lead us to a gas-free future

A Bay Area woman fills out paperwork to show she is eligible for CalFresh, California's food stamp program.

Economy

California’s struggle to get food stamps to the hungry

A pair of worn out tennis shoes illustrate an all-too-common symptom of income inequality: child poverty. More than 27 percent of children in Santa Cruz county are in poverty, the second highest rate in California

Economy

California’s child poverty hits coastal Bay Area

Economy

In California, we long ago ended the ‘War on Coal’

Economy

BUDGET DECIDER: Making choices that impact millions