My Response to CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE 2020 PRIMARY ELECTION Baltimore D.C. Building Trades Unions
(1) How many votes do you believe you need to win? Please explain your answer.
Based on the 2016 Baltimore City Council District 4 primary election results, I will need about 5,000 votes to win. In the 2016, the City Councilman Bill Henry won the primary election with 4,565 votes. Over 41 percent of the primary voters voted for him. Based on the 2016 Baltimore City Council District 4 general election results, I will need approximately 8,500 votes to win. During the 2016 Baltimore City Council District 4 general election, 16,585 people voted for City Council. In that election, Bill Henry won with 14,646 votes and Republican William Broaddus, III lost with 1,939 votes. In the general election, assuming that my only competitor will be a Republican and assuming that approximately the same numbers of people will vote in the general election as 2016, I will need more than half of the total votes.
(2) What is your strategy for getting those votes? Please explain your answer.
In order to get those votes, I have been relentless canvassing. So far, I have covered every precinct in District 4. I have met with community leaders, local business owners, and various unions to secure more support. I have been consistently using social media for fundraising in order to remain competitive in this race. I have been doing research, attending City Council meetings, York Road Partnership meetings, Mid-Govans Neighborhood Association meetings, and other important city political meetings to network and familiarize myself with the issues. I am prepared for any debates. As an attorney, my debating skills will give me an edge over many of the other candidates. My debate performances will help me prevail over my opponents.
(3) How much money do you plan to raise? Please explain your answer.
Ideally, my goal is raise at least $30,000 during the primary. As report in the Baltimore Sun, Bill Henry raised $38,000 during the 2016 primary and managed to defeat an opponent who raised 3 times as much. https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-district-4-20160318-story.html . I would like to raise at least $30,000 during the general election as well.
(4) Currently Prevailing wage on construction in the city applies to city contracts over $5000 or Tax Increment Financing of $10 million or more. Do you support the strengthening and expansion of Prevailing Wage on construction projects that receive any tax subsidy or tax increment financing regardless of the amount? Please explain your answer and how you would achieve this.
I would support expanding the prevailing wage on construction projects that receive any tax subsidy or tax increment financing. Companies that benefit from such tax subsidies should be required to ensure that all workers are paid the prevailing wage. If elected, I will use my position to encourage the state legislature to pass the necessary reforms.
(5) Enforcement agencies are traditionally underfunded and lack the resources to enforce laws that protect workers’ rights.
Would you advocate to increase funding for the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement to hire more wage enforcement agents?
Yes. One of my primary objectives is to eliminate racial and socio-economic disparities in Baltimore City. As a civil rights attorney with the NAACP, I understand that we need a robust Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement. With more agents, the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement will have the necessary resources to protect workers’ rights and civil rights.
Would you support co-enforcement, which include deputizing industry certified enforcement officers who are authorized and trained by the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement to increase the office’s capacity to investigate and address wage violations and misclassification?
Yes. I support co-enforcement. We must expand the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement’s capacity to investigate and address wage violations and misclassifications.
(6)Would you support legislation to hold General Contractors accountable for wage violations and misclassification by sub-contractors and labor brokers?
Yes. I fully support the General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act. That law is necessary to ensure that general contractor cannot use sub-contractors to circumvent the law and violate workers’ rights.
How would you use your influence to prevent these contractors from being awarded work in the city, including private work?
I would support legislature to change the charter to ensure that the City Council has more input, influence and impact on the city government’s budget. In addition, if elected, I would use my platform to urge the mayor and other city council members to prevent such contracts from being awarded. Alternatively, I will rally with the unions and publicly challenge and condemn via news media and social media such decisions.
Would you support efforts to disbar contractors from city projects?
Yes. Contractors should be disbarred from city projects for egregious wage violations and misclassifications. Such companies such not be able to continue to do business in Baltimore.
(7) Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) ensure a highly qualified and skilled workforce, training and apprenticeship opportunities for residents, and a pathway to middle-class careers. PLAs have proven that they are the key to completing construction projects on time and on budget, while simultaneously creating high quality, family supporting jobs with healthcare, pensions, and a clear, upward career path for workers and residents. PLAs are also able proved an enforceable mechanism to support minority contractors and local hire.
If elected, will you introduce and support legislation in favor of the use of PLAs on public works projects of a certain amount, including projects that receive tax subsidies like TIFs or PILOTS?
Yes. I would support legislation to ensure that such public work projects use Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). PLAs are necessary to protect workers’ rights and to promote quality work and safety.
How would you work on private development projects to advocate for PLAs in their bid documents?
I would publicly advocate that PLAs be included in such agreements and explore the possibility of passing legislation giving companies a financial incentive to use PLAs for private development projects.
How would you help get PLAs on projects that are under partnership agreements between the City and the Maryland Stadium Authority, especially on School Construction?
I would support legislation requiring PLAs on projects under such partnership agreements. In addition, I would publicly advocate that PLAs be included in such agreements.
Please explain your answer, specifically what strategy you would use to see that PLAs are incorporated on public and private development?
If elected, I would meet with Baltimore D.C. Building Trade Unions to discuss strategy. I would persuade city council members and state legislature members to support pro PLAs legislation.
(8) Many Construction workers experience some form of wage theft. This could be the contractor not paying overtime, pay for time worked or the company completely not paying the workers. When workers submit non-payment of wage claims to state and local government agencies experience delays in recouping the stolen wages. Often the government will not impose liquidated damages and penalties, and the worker must settle for repayment of back wages that is substantially less (40% of owed wage) than they are owed.
Will you be willing to help draft, lobby, and vote in favor of legislation that allows workers to take a private right of action that guarantees legal fees and increased liquidated damages otherwise known as a wage theft law?
Yes. I fully support legislation such as the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law. That law gives workers a private right of action. Additionally, under the law, workers may recover treble damages and reasonable counsel fees. When adequately enforced, such laws can significantly deter wage theft.
(9) The Building Trades Union craft affiliates invest over $30 million dollars a year in Maryland, training people to be professionals in the construction industry. These highly sophisticated apprenticeship programs, and our “Apprenticeship Readiness” Programs are incredibly important to the future of construction. We need to ensure that these next generations of workers have a career path to the middle class and are offered quality construction training.
Will you support amending city procurement standards to include language that mandates contractors have apprenticeship programs registered with the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council or the U.S. Department of Labor?
Yes. I support requiring contractors have apprenticeship programs registered with the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council and/or the U.S. Department of Labor. That will ensure apprenticeship programs comply with state and federal regulations.
Will you support and advocate for efforts to ensure worksite journey worker and -apprentice ratios maintain safety on the jobsite and ensure quality on-the job instruction for registered apprentices?
Yes. Such measures are necessary to ensure that all workers are safe.
(10) If elected, would you introduce and/or support legislation in support of the application of Community Workforce Agreements (also known as Project Labor Agreements) on any projects receiving public subsidies (tax abatement, TIF, PILOT, land swap or grant or other public sector capital investment) from the City of Baltimore, the Baltimore Development Corporation, Maryland Stadium Authority? Please explain your answer.
Yes. I would support such legislation for projects receiving public subsidies. Projects receiving public funds and subsidies should be obligated to use PLAs. PLAs prevent wage theft. In addition, as stated on the Baltimore D.C. Building Trades’ website, PLAs ensure “an uninterrupted supply of qualified workers” and keep “projects on schedule.”
(11) Will you sponsor and support legislation to strengthen local hiring for Baltimore City residents?
Yes. Baltimore City residents should be the primary beneficiaries of any construction projects in the City.
What would you do to increase the capacity of the city and MOED to meet local hire on all city funded projects as well as private construction in the city?
I would support legislation encouraging the expansion of apprenticeship programs. That will substantially increase the number of people who are qualified to work on such city funded projects.
(12) Lowest Bid is often the primary selection criteria used during procurement to award bids however often times the lowest bid is more costly due to const over-runs and change orders Furthermore, best value bidding may offer additional points for contractors who provide access to a registered apprenticeship, offer a multi-employer model that provides sustainable employment, and offer wages and benefits that provide access to the middle class, full family medical and retirement pension plan.
Will you support legislation to incorporate best value bidding in procurement?
Yes. I would support legislation to incorporate best value bidding in procurement. The lowest price should not be the sole consideration when awarding contracts. The workers’ rights, work quality, expertise, track record and other factors should be considered as well