The Ohio House of Representatives yesterday approved a budget that includes language banning wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreement (PLA) mandates on state-funded construction projects. If enacted, this language will prohibit political subdivisions, including cities, counties and school districts, from imposing PLA mandates on construction projects that receive financial support from the state.
This is a big win for Ohio taxpayers and the vast majority of the construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor organization.
This is not the first time Ohio’s elected leaders have tried to eliminate PLA mandates on taxpayer-funded construction. The Ohio General Assembly approved language in 1999 designed to curtail the use of PLA mandates on public construction projects, but the Ohio Supreme Court concluded in 2002 that the statute unlawfully regulated the behavior of local government entities.
Since this decision, two U.S. circuit courts of appeals (Decision, Decision) have upheld the right of government entities to limit the ability of their political subdivisions and recipients of their financial support to impose PLA mandates. The federal appeals courts found government entities have the right as participants in the construction marketplace to guarantee government neutrality with regard to PLAs.
Taxpayers and the construction industry in Ohio are familiar with the negative impact of PLA mandates. Read more about the history of government-mandated PLAs in Ohio via our earlier post here.
Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs, we thank Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, Chairman Ryan Smith and Rep. Ron Young for standing up for taxpayers and the 78 percent of Ohio’s construction workforce that chooses not to join a union. We believe taxpayers deserve the best construction at the best price, and we believe this language will help accomplish that goal.
Finally, Ohio should join the other 22 states that have taken a stand against PLA mandates on taxpayer-funded construction. We strongly encourage Ohio Senate President Keith Faber and other members of the Senate to include this language in the budget bill they approve later this spring. It would ensure Ohio taxpayers the quality and accountability they deserve when they are picking up the tab for public construction projects.