Sunset Reservoir site shut down again Wednesday 

A solar power plant construction site on top of the Sunset Reservoir sat idle Wednesday, with workers told to stay home because of planned protests by laborers.

Construction of the 5-megawatt city-backed plant was halted for worker-safety reasons on Tuesday after laborers arrived at the site to protest a recent city ruling.

The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement ruled Friday that most work on the site must be performed at electricians’ high wages.

Laborers from economically stricken San Francisco neighborhoods who had been working at the site are expected to lose their jobs because of the ruling.

Electricians are more highly trained and skilled than laborers, and contractors working on the project plan to employ electrical workers if they must pay their higher wages.

Due to threats of further protests, workers were informed early Wednesday morning that no work would be performed at the site that day.

A meeting between city officials, contractors and union officials to discuss the contentious city ruling was scheduled to begin at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Market Street headquarters at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy, which is overseeing the solar power project, issued a statement on Wednesday.

“We want to put people back to work as soon as possible,” Harris said. “We are meeting with city officials today in an effort to resolve labor-related issues stemming from the OLSE decision.”

Joshua Arce, a staff attorney with local nonprofit Brightline Defense Project, which has been working in support of the laborers, also issued a statement.

“My guess is that the contractors will keep the job shut down until The City reverses its decision,” Arce said. “Everyone and their mother advised OLSE not to get in the middle of this, and we need someone in government to reverse their decision.”

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