PA Government Cronyism Not Limited to Jail PLA Study

0 June 6, 2009  State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

On 6/2 I wrote about the corruption and absurdity of the Pennsylvania government  hiring a union propaganda machine — Keystone Research Center — to conduct a study that will likely recommend PLAs on future publicly-funded Pennsylvania jails.  

So I enjoyed reading this 5/24 Letter to the Editor in the Lancaster Journal Online by ABC Keystone President Jack Zimmer in response to criticism raised by a local union leader of yet another example of Governor Rendell’s cronyism.

Governor unfair
I applaud Kathy Jellison, president of Local 668, the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, for identifying and standing up against Gov. Rendell over no-bid contracts.

Ms. Jellison, in a recent press release, noted that Gov. Rendell has signed $1 billion in no-bid contracts since he became governor. She cited examples supported by findings of Democratic Auditor General Jack Wagner of instances in which no-bid contracts were awarded to friends and campaign contributors, including Rendell’s old law firm. Ms. Jellison reported she has made many recommendations to the Teflon-coated governor to no avail.

Kathy, I feel your pain.

The Rendell administration has pursued union-only project labor agreements for state-funded jobs (despite more than 80 percent of the state construction workforce being open shop). These agreements discriminate against local taxpaying construction workers, preventing them from earning a paycheck on a publicly funded job unless they belong to a union. When will cronyism end? In about 18 months, I guess.

What’s wrong with letting union and open shop alike have a fair and equal chance to bid on state-funded jobs and award work to the lowest qualified bidder? We’re all taxpayers, and these policies are costing all of us money.

-John R. Zimmer, President & CEO, Associated Builders & Contractors, Keystone Chapter, Manheim

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