West Virginia became a bit more wonderful today for taxpayers, the contracting community, and supporters of fair and open competition.
By signing SB 409 this morning, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin became the first Democrat Governor in the nation, and the 19th governor since January 2011, to sign legislation or an executive order banning wasteful and discriminatory government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on taxpayer-funded construction projects.
West Virginia is the 22nd state to prohibit the use of PLA mandates on public construction projects and the 18th state to ban them since President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on a case-by-case basis on federal contracts exceeding $25 million and permits government entities receiving federal assistance to mandate PLAs.
The bipartisan bill passed the West Virginia Senate 21-12 on Feb. 27 and the West Virginia House of Delegates 62-36 on March 12.
Congratulations to all lawmakers and stakeholders who worked hard to make this bill become law.
Here is a press release from ABC West Virginia:
West Virginia Becomes 22nd State to Prohibit PLA Mandates
Gov. Tomblin Becomes First Democratic Gov. to Ban State PLA Mandates
Charleston, W.Va. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and ABC of West Virginia (ABCWV) today applauded Gov. Tomblin (D-W.Va.) for signing the Establishing Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act (SB 409). The bill prohibits government entities from requiring contractors to enter into wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of performing work on publicly funded construction projects.
A PLA is a job-specific union collective bargaining agreement, which effectively steers construction contracts to unionized firms and their all-union workforces. When mandated on publicly funded construction projects, PLAs make it nearly impossible for the vast majority of the construction workforce that chooses to join a union to compete fairly for projects funded by their own tax dollars. In the Mountain State, more than 80 percent of the private construction workforce chooses not to join a labor organization.
“By prohibiting these costly and unnecessary mandates on publicly funded construction projects, this bipartisan legislation will ensure that every qualified bidder in the state of West Virginia and their skilled craft professionals are given a fair chance to participate in the public procurement process,” said ABCWV President Bryan Hoylman. “Studies show PLAs drive up the cost of public construction projects between 12 to 18 percent and the leadership shown by bill sponsors Sen. Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael and Del. Geoff Foster will increase competition and provide better value to taxpayers by allowing all qualified West Virginia contractors to compete effectively for work on taxpayer-funded projects.”
“Gov. Tomblin’s leadership in becoming the first Democratic governor to sign legislation outlawing PLA mandates on public construction projects, and the bipartisan manner in which this legislation passed are clear indicators of the growing momentum against these special interest handouts,” said ABC Director of State and Local Affairs Andy Conlin. “PLA mandates are bad for taxpayers and for the vast majority of construction workers who choose not to join a labor union and actions such as those taken by the governor and legislature demonstrate the growing bipartisan consensus that PLA mandates are bad public policy.”
West Virginia is the 22nd state to prohibit the use of PLA mandates on public construction projects and the 18th state to ban them since President Barack Obama issued an executive order in 2009 encouraging the use of PLAs on public construction projects. The bill passed the West Virginia Senate 21-12 on Feb. 27 and the West Virginia House of Delegates 62-36 on March 12.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing nearly 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically, profitably and for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at www.abc.org.