The wave continues! With Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature yesterday of S.B. 76, Louisiana is now the fifth state to ban government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) to some degree in 2011 and the ninth state to do so nationwide.
This is a huge development for taxpayers in Louisiana. This bill guarantees that free enterprise – not Big Labor handouts – will determine how public construction contracts are awarded in the Pelican state. This also will ensure that the 98 percent of the private construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor organization has the opportunity to compete for projects funded with their own tax dollars.
This bill also renews the state’s commitment to its Right to Work law. The Right to Work law guarantees that workers are not forced to pay union dues as a condition of accepting a job in Louisiana. This preserves a worker’s choice on whether to pay union dues. PLAs violate the spirit of Right to Work laws because they force small businesses and their workers to do everything Big Labor wants – except pay union dues – in order to work on a public project when a PLA is required.
Even in a Right to Work state like Louisiana, PLAs still require employers to recognize the signatory unions as the sole representative of their workers. This deprives workers of their right to a federally supervised secret ballot election on unionization in their workplace. Additionally, employers would still likely to be required to hire all or most of their workers from union hiring halls at the expense of their current workers, pay union wages and into union benefit programs and follow inefficient and outdated union work rules. The result would be fewer opportunities for Louisiana workers and increased costs for taxpayers.
Finally, this is yet another rebuke of President Obama’s pro-PLA Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal projects costing more than $25 million. Since President Obama issued his order, leaders in more than 20 states have considered banning PLA mandates on public projects. Five states have now adopted bans, with Michigan and Maine poised to do so within days. The American people are sending a clear signal to Washington through their state leaders. Taxpayers want value, not Big Labor handouts, for their construction dollars.
States that have banned government-mandated PLAs to some degree on
state and local construction projects: