Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)

Union-Only PLAs Are Bad for Towns and Taxes!

As cities and towns continue the task of making capital improvements to their educational facilities, fire departments and other public projects the citizens need to pay close attention to the decisions local officials make. One of those decisions involves a highly political decision as to whether or not to have the projects go "union-only".

These "union-only" Project Labor Agreements (PLA) include discriminatory language that prevents any non-union worker from working on a project where a PLA has been signed. That is the primary reason why non-union (open shop) contractors are forced to decide not to bid projects with PLAs.

In addition to discriminating against non-union construction workers, PLAs also impact the cost of construction. To understand how they impact cost, it is important to understand that the construction industry is primarily non-union. In Connecticut, unions comprise less than 20% of the workforce. As a result, the consistent impact Connecticut has seen when a PLA is implemented is a drastic increase in price. It is simple economics - when you limit supply - you increase price.

Proponents for PLAs stress that the only way to have a quality project is a labor agreement. They will imply that they will not be able to work on the project if it is open and competitively bid. Remember: the only thing a PLA really guarantees is that 100% of the workforce will be union and paying into the union funds. The rest - is marketing.

Projects that are open and competitively bid are built successfully every day. Union and non-union craftsmen work side by side in harmony. In fact, on the average Connecticut construction project union contractors are low bidder on as much as 60% of the total contract value.

What the union business agents are paid to do is to try to secure the entire project - and the best way to do that is to eliminate the competition.

CT ABC encourages the citizens of Connecticut to say NO to union only PLAs.