KRON-TV reported today that union construction workers had been told to stay home today, losing a day’s pay, due to President Barack Obama’s visit to Fremont-based Solyndra Inc.’s not-yet-completed manufacturing plant.
The Republican National Committee and Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee jumped all over it — “Obama should be more focused on helping Californians get back to work, instead of keeping them from it,” said RNC spokesman Jahan Wilcox — but company spokesman David Miller says that’s not exactly what happened.
“After a tour of Solyndra’s Fab 1, President Obama met with union construction workers before his speech, photos of which can been seen on line from various news sources. Some of these construction workers shared compliments with Solyndra executives on being able to participate in the event. Further, in preparation for President Obama’s visit, there was significant overtime paid to construction workers.
“Due to President Obama’s visit and security for the event that was held, for several hours the construction work on the site was put on hold. Today, immediately after the event was over, construction work resumed. The workers are not losing a day of pay; rather the day will be made up down the road. The construction work that was put on hold during this shift still needs to get done. This is the same as what happens with a weather-related ‘rain-day’ construction site shut down.
“Please note the workers affected today work were subcontractors for Rudolph and Sletten, not employees of Solyndra.
“Finally, Solyndra hopes to build the second phase of its Fab 2 project, and is looking forward to enabling additional construction jobs for this project.”
Miller also noted that the $535 million loan guarantee that Solyndra received from the Energy Department under the Recovery Act to build this new factory has created 3,000 construction jobs, and the project has been running at least two shifts a day, six days a week since the groundbreaking last September, paying out more than $90 million in union wages.
I did see some Rudolph and Sletten workers wearing hard-hats at the speech, but there wasn’t room in the secured area to accomodate hundreds more.