The editorial board of The Detroit News has once again come out against job killing policies that line the pockets of one special interest group at the expense of Michigan taxpayers. This issue was discussed in the context of The Detroit News urging the newly-minted Snyder administration to remove the government-imposed hurdles to job creation in the Great Lakes State.
Here are the highlights from the editorial (“Editorial: Break the Barriers,” 1/6/11):
Another priority for the new administration should be wiping away laws written at the direction of labor unions.
Currently, firms working on public construction projects must pay employees the so-called “prevailing wage,” which essentially means union pay.
There’s no taxpayer interest in having the state or local communities or school districts pay more than necessary for their capital projects.
Nor is there a public interest in locking out non-union construction firms from bidding for these projects.
Local governments are increasingly employing “project labor agreements” requiring construction firms to abide by the entire collective bargaining agreement of the relevant local construction union — whether or not it is a union operation.
Again, taxpayers aren’t served at all by these policies. Many non-union firms simply won’t bid on the work.
There should be no discrimination against non-union firms doing business with the state. They should compete solely on price and quality to provide the best deal for the taxpayers.
In a state has faced significant budget deficits for the better part of the last decade and where the state unemployment rate still dwarfs the national average, it is vital for government to remove artificial barriers to job creation. Michiganders need help getting back to work, not roadblocks designed to help the politically-connected few. This is particularly true in the construction industry, where one-in-five workers nationally are out of a job.
In an attempt to get Michigan working again, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Michigan has launched a campaign to end the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) and other forced union pacts on taxpayer supported projects in the state. Chris Fisher, president of ABC of Michigan, has released an outstanding web video breaking down the ways that PLAs limit economic growth in Michigan.
They have also launched a website, www.accountableconstruction.com, which outlines the ways forcing union agreements on public construction hurts taxpayers and the industry.
Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, we urge Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Legislature to take steps to ensure that the people of Michigan get the best construction at the best price. Always. End the practice of public entities mandating PLAs on taxpayer funded projects.