I am speaking at the National Black Chamber of Commerce Legislative Conference in Washington, DC as a panelist for a session called “Revitalizing the U.S. Department of Transportation” today.
NBCC President Harry Alford invited me to discuss the impact of pro-union policies such as Executive Order 13502 and federal prevailing wage laws under the Davis-Bacon Act on U.S. DOT projects.
On 7/21 we wrote a post saluting the NBCC and Harry Alford’s efforts to fight discriminatory and costly PLAs in light of the recent well publicized dust-up with Senator Boxer after she made racially insensitive comments to silence the NBCC’s criticism of “cap and tax trade” legislation.
This current event provided us with an opportunity to remind readers that PLAs discriminate against non-union workers and they especially discriminate against minority and women owned businesses and their minority and women employees.
Mr. Alford and the NBCC have written critical reviews of PLAs over the years. Let’s revisit some highlights.
“PLAs amount to de facto segregation … African-American workers are significantly underrepresented in all crafts of construction union shops … this problem has been persistent during past decades and there appears to be no type of improvement coming … PLAs are anti-free-market, non-competitive, and, most of all, discriminatory.”
– National Black Chamber of Commerce
“Show me a PLA and I will show you Jim Crow employment plus a locking out of most Black-owned firms that happen to be nonunion most of the time. A Project Labor Agreement is a license to discriminate against Black workers.
Anywhere a PLA pops up, the National Black Chamber of Commerce will be there to scrutinize, challenge and call out any discrimination. Eventually our leaders and the unions will realize that it is 2009 and doing the right thing is the only thing they can do.”
– Harry Alford, “A Great Opportunity to Integrate the Construction Unions”
“PLAs greatly reduce the number of minorities, women and minority businesses working on a project.”
– Harry Alford, “Economic Apartheid, Construction Unions and the City of Philadelphia”
“It is the policy of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. to oppose Project Labor Agreements. This opposition is based on the fact that African American workers are significantly underrepresented in all crafts of construction union shops. This problem has been persistent during the past decades and there appears to be no type of improvement coming within the next ten years.
There have been rouses of diversity pre-apprenticeship training programs during the past twenty years but no increase in diversity at the apprenticeship to journeymen levels. The higher incidence of union labor in the construction industry, the lower African American employment will be realized. This is constant throughout the nation.
Also, and equally important, the higher use of union shops brings a correlated decrease in the amount of Black owned businesses being involved on a worksite.”
– NBCC Policy Statement on Project Labor Agreements
“The National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is firmly against union-only Project Labor Agreements. Such agreements result in anti-small business activity which is predatory to Black owned businesses and curtail the potential for employment opportunities within urban areas. No company or individual should be forced to sign a union agreement before given the opportunity to participate in our capitalistic system. PLAs are anti-free market, non-competitive and, most of all, discriminatory.”
– NBCC Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business for “How Union-Only Labor Agreements are Harming Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses” hearing, August 6, 1998
The NBCC and Harry Alford are not the only critics of PLAs because they deny opportunities to minority and women. See what minority and women’s business groups have said about PLAs here.