Associated Builders and Contractors has begun a campaign against the use of mandated project labor agreements on federally funded infrastructure jobs. They claim that without PLAs, there will be more opportunities for small contractors and a cost savings to taxpayers. They couldn’t be more wrong. A PLA is simply an agreement between the owner and the labor unions that establishes the terms and conditions of the work and often establishes criteria for targeted hiring from the local community in which the projects are being built. Numerous studies have debunked the myths that PLAs increase cost to the respective projects when in fact they:
- Provide economic development for the local community including a higher propensity that local businesses will be part of this.
- Create career pathways for individuals that last a lifetime and span many generations.
- Promote apprenticeship programs.
- Increase worker productivity, standards of living – including higher wages – all while creating safer worksites and reducing inequality for females and people of color.
- Offer prevailing wage, standardized health care and retirement to all who work on these projects.
All contractors are welcome to bid on projects that involve PLAs. Since the terms are spelled out in detail, there is no favoritism or discrimination. Contractors benefit from having a stable, safe, highly skilled, dependable workforce in place. Communities benefit by having good paying jobs for their residents. The projects are assured of being completed in a timely fashion with no disruptions and in a cost-efficient manner.