At noon today, Chris Christie took the oath of office and became Governor of New Jersey. By electing a Republican in this blue state, voters sent a signal to state officials that they want a change. The people of New Jersey are no longer willing to accept high taxes and waste from their state government.
One area of government waste that Governor Christie should take up immediately is the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on state construction projects. In 2002, former Governor Jim McGreevey (D) issued Executive Order 1, which provided (emphasis added):
“that on a project-by-project basis, a state department, authority, or instrumentality shall include a PLA in a public works project where it has been determined that the agreement advances the state’s interests of cost efficiency, quality, safety, timeliness, skilled labor force, labor stability, and the state’s policy to advance minority and women-owned businesses.”
This is just one example of the love affairs between Big Labor and New Jersey governors.
The New Jersey Legislature attempted to codify Governor McGreevey’s executive order when it enacted A. 1926 in July 2002. This bill stated that:
A public entity may include a project labor agreement in a public works project on a project-by-project basis, if the public entity determines, taking into consideration the size, complexity and cost of the public works project, that, with respect to that project the project labor agreement will meet the requirements of section 5 of this act, including promoting labor stability and advancing the interests of the public entity in cost, efficiency, skilled labor force, quality, safety and timeliness. If the public entity determines that a project labor agreement will meet those requirements with respect to a particular public works project, the public entity shall either: directly negotiate in good faith a project labor agreement with one or more labor organizations; or condition the award of a contract to a construction manager upon a requirement that the construction manager negotiate in good faith a project labor agreement with one or more labor organizations.
This wordy paragraph ultimately says that state agencies are essentially required to mandate PLAs on state projects as long as the PLAs do certain things or require certain conditions as outlined in section 5 of the act.
Here is an excerpt from section 5 of this act (emphasis added again):
Each project labor agreement executed pursuant to the provisions of this act shall:
a.Advance the interests of the public entity, including the interests in cost, efficiency,
quality, timeliness, skilled labor force, and safety;
Governor Christie recognizes that PLAs do not advance the interests of state government or taxpayers. PLAs increase construction costs by as much as 18 percent and limit the ability of 77 percent of New Jersey’s construction workforce from working on projects in their own state.
On the Christie Campaign website, christiefornj.com, item number fifty on 88 Ways Chris Christie Will Fix New Jersey highlights Governor Christie’s pledge to eliminate discriminatory and costly PLAs in New Jersey.
I will eliminate special interest labor union giveaways that increase spending and taxes by ending the use of project labor agreements, which drive up the cost of public construction projects and fail to deliver a public benefit at a time when the economy is shedding jobs and taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet.
Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, we want to wish Governor Christie luck. New Jersey is facing some important challenges, like finding ways to lower their sky-high property taxes, and needs his sensible leadership now more than ever.
Additionally, we call on Governor Christie to fulfill this campaign pledge and issue an executive order to declare that PLAs are not in the public interest and end their use on state and state funded construction.