Solar projects on hold following laborer spat 

Plans to place solar panels on city facilities were suspended indefinitely due to a recent labor-related dispute.

The spat shut down construction of one of the nation’s biggest urban solar power plants after general laborers protested against a city ruling.

Work resumed Thursday at the city-backed Sunset Reservoir project following crisis talks, but city officials said planned new solar projects will be put on hold until the dispute is resolved.

“We definitely don’t want to have a middle-of-construction labor kerfuffle again,” city power official Barbara Hale said Thursday.

Affected upcoming projects include solar arrays planned at City Hall, Davies Symphony Hall and a Muni facility.

California’s economy has been shifting in recent years, and different trades have been competing to secure work with the new industries.

The City ruled June 11 that most work at the Sunset Reservoir is electrical in nature. The ruling threatened to cost laborers their jobs.

An interim resolution was hammered out during crisis talks Wednesday that saw laborers and electricians return to the site. But laborers want to gain solar panel installation experience, union official David De La Torre said.

A recent agreement between electricians and California’s solar industry to create a solar installer job classification could help overcome the impasse, according to Hale.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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