According to this 5/3 New Haven Register article, Connecticut International Union of Operating Engineers Local 478 President Benedict Cozzi is upset that local union workers do not have a monopoly on the labor needed to build foundations for the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, also known as the Q Bridge, in New Haven, CT.
Merit shop contractors and subcontractors are building the Q Bridge foundations with a mixture of union and non-union workers. Local unions are pushing hard for a PLA on larger Q Bridge contracts that will be bid later this season.
The current bridge foundation project was broken into smaller contracts to make the main contract more manageable because the Q bridge received no bidders when it was first advertised in 2006.
The second round of bids was scheduled to be opened May 27, but that date has been pushed back to June 3 at the request of potential bidders.
A spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation advocates that free and open competition, without PLAs, is the best way to attract a greater number of bidders and bring a project on time and on budget:
Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said it wouldn’t be in the state’s best interest to require union labor on the big highway and bridge projects.
“Our (bidding) process is intended to produce the best product at the lowest possible price for taxpayers,” he said. “Thus, we believe that (requests for proposal) should be unencumbered by any provisions which could limit the pool of prospective respondents.”
Hopefully that sentiment will be true for all current and future Connecticut construction projects.
Kudos to the CT DOT for serving the interests of all taxpayers (not just the special interests of organized labor) by bidding this project using free and open competition.
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com will be following this project closely.