During the past 10 years, many of California’s daily newspapers (including the Sacramento Bee, Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, Orange County Register and San Diego Union-Tribune) have published editorials denouncing Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) proposed at local governments for public works projects. This is no surprise: anyone who looks objectively at how PLAs are promoted and approved quickly sees that PLAs are not about logic, but about politics. Today the San Diego-Union Tribune published an editorial entitled “The PLA plague: Now airport authority mulling union payoff” (pdf) contending that PLAs do not make sense economically and that these agreements are political payoffs to unions.
The editorial also cites the “simple and impeccable” methodology of a 2006 study by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston that compared costs of 117 New York state school construction projects with PLAs and without PLAs. Devoid of pseudo-intellectual economic jargon and obscure reasoning, this study remains the best indicator of how PLAs cut competition and raise costs of public works for taxpayers.
Editor’s note: You can read the other two Beacon HIll Institute school construction PLA studies from MA and CT, as well as other studies and white papers about costly and discriminatory PLAs here and here.
You can also read opposition to PLAs in America’s newspaper editorials here.