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Walker Keeps Big Labor On Their Toes

Gov. Scott Walker

Scott Walker dealt another blow to Big Labor this month when he signed legislation that “prevents local governments from requiring contractors to hire union labor for publicly funded construction projects.” This is a huge move forward for many reasons. And Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, basically captures it in his recent statement to the Daily Caller:

Project Labor Agreements (PLA) not only drive up the cost of projects because of union featherbedding and inefficient work rules, but they discriminate against the 86 percent of American construction workers who choose not to join a union, by effectively banning companies with nonunion workers from bidding on such contracts.

Union Only PLA Draws Fire

Last week the Deval Patrick administration announced it will require a union only PLA (Project Labor Agreement) for a $285M bridge project, a rare move (even in Massachusetts) that drew the ire of contractors who had already invested tens of thousands of dollars preparing bids for the project. Critics speculate the surprise decision to use only union labor on the Whittier Memorial Bridge project was made only to boost union enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren in her bid to unseat Republican Senator Scott Brown. The two are currently deadlocked in the polls.

“It’s mind-boggling,’’ said Greg Beeman, president of ­Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts, noting that 80% of the state’s skilled and taxpaying construction workforce is non-union. “Why would they put a policy into effect that

Continue reading Union Only PLA Draws Fire

INK January 19, 2012

In this issue:

• Union Bailout Update • Yes, America, the Unions Are Killing Your Twinkies • Will the Unions Screw Up the Superbowl? • Laborers Vow Never to Forget Keystone • Picket Line Do’s and Don’ts • Teamsters Watch, Sticky Fingers and more…

NOTICE: You can make a PDF of this issue of INK directly from the post. Click here for instructions on how to do so.

Union Bailout Update

The NLRB held a “meet and greet” on Jan. 12 between lawmakers and the three newly sworn in Board members at the center of the latest NLRB firestorm. Members of Congress were denied the chance to question or even scan the resumes of Richard Griffin and Sharon Block as the two

Continue reading INK January 19, 2012

Defense Dept. Requires Its First Ever PLA

The U.S. Navy will require its first project labor agreement (PLA) for construction of a $715M explosive handling wharf in Washington state. This is the Defense Department’s first PLA since President Obama issued an executive order one month into his presidency that strongly encouraged all federal agencies to require union labor on all projects over $25M. Without explanation or proof, defenders of the Navy’s PLA mandate say a unionized workforce ensures efficient, timely and cost-effective completion.

The Olympic Peninsula Building and Construction Trades Council had successfully called upon Democrats Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Reps. Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee to appeal to the Defense Department for a PLA. All four have received significant campaign donations from the Building Trades

Continue reading Defense Dept. Requires Its First Ever PLA

The PLA Squeeze on State and Local Budgets

The Wall Street Journal published an outstanding editorial this week on Project Labor Agreements or PLAs, and how state and local budgets are squeezed by what amount to “sweetheart deals” with labor unions.

Only 13% of construction workers currently belong to unions. However, unions use PLAs on government projects to apply their considerable political muscle to what amounts to temporary forced unionism. And according to the Journal, “Proponents argue that PLAs ensure the speed and quality of construction plans. But PLAs are one of the reasons that Boston’s Big Dig was estimated at $2.8 billion but eventually cost $22 billion. Studies show that projects under PLA contracts on average cost 12% to 18% more than projects awarded by open, competitive bidding. Taxpayers pick up much of this tab.”

The editors conclude, “PLAs are a form of political bid-rigging that robs taxpayers even in good economic times. Amid today’s

Continue reading The PLA Squeeze on State and Local Budgets