While much of this week’s attention focued on Obama administration attempts to encourage federal department and agency heads to utilize wasteful and discriminatory union-only project labor agreements, there have been PLA developments at the state and local levels that warrent attention as well.
- In Trumbull, CT subcontractors for the Trumbull High School renovation/reconstruction project have been selected. The local construction unions’ are upset because they lobbied hard to make sure this was a PLA project. Supporters of free enterprise fought hard to ensure this project would be bid based on open competition and not union favoritism. Now the project is set to put hundreds of people to work, regardless of their labor affiliation.
- The Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento, CA stepped in to stop union greenmail abuse against the proposed $600 million Sutter Midtown Medical Center, midtown campus. The Sacramento Business Journal reports that “the midtown development plan includes a women’s and children’s center, renovation of Sutter General Hospital and the Sutter Cancer Center across the street. The project also includes housing, stores and a new theater complex for the Children’s Theatre of California.” This project is sure to create hundreds of jobs and some important additions to the community. This court decision is a big win for the people of Sacramento as it sends a clear message that union greenmail will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, Sutter signed a PLA early in the construction process to avoid project delays and increased costs as a result of greenmail threats from construction unions. The SEIU had their own labor-related agenda so they picked up where the building trades unions left off and engaged in greenmail. Businesses and government entities need to stand up to Big Labor or else this extortion will continue.
- Staying in California, construction trade unions continue their attempts to establish a foothold in San Diego. This time, they are preemptively targeting potential developers for the proposed San Diego civic center to negotiate a PLA. Although we expect this type of behavior from the San Diego construction unions, it takes a special kind of nerve for a developer to being negotiating a PLA before they have been awarded a project. Just a note to the future developer of the San Diego civic center project and their potential union friends, I would expect a serious fight if you insist on a PLA.
- Finally, bowing to union demands has put the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD)’s School Board in a bad situation – again. Despite a significant budget shortfall, the School Board opted to utilize a PLA on school construction funded by Proposition S, a $2.1 billion bond. Not surprisingly, the SDUSD School Board also takes orders from the teacher’s union. Despite a significant surplus of teachers and unlike every other district in California, the SDUSD refused to lay off any teachers to address the district’s cash crisis. Out of money, the SDUSD School Board is now proposing a $30 million tax increase on local residents and businesses to cover their shortfall. Needless to say, this is not going well.
That’s all for this week. Be sure to check back with www.thetruthaboutplas.com for the most updated news and information on wasteful and discriminatory PLAs.