Secretary of Labor Reaffirms Ill-Informed Support of Project Labor Agreements

0 September 15, 2009  Federal Construction, Uncategorized

It is no secret that U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis supports the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and Project Labor Agreements. Yesterday she addressed the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention in Pittsburgh, PA and reaffirmed her support of these special interest policies that will kill jobs and exclusively benefit Big Labor and harm American taxpayers, workers and businesses:

“Not only do the President and I support Employee Free Choice Act, we are strong supporters of Project Labor Agreements. 

We know that they are a win-win: good for workers and for contractors Project Labor Agreements improve the economy and efficiency of construction projects.

President Obama issued an executive order encouraging the use of PLA’s for large federally funded projects, and we have been working very hard at DOL with Vice President Biden and the Middle Class Task Force to ensure that Project Labor Agreements are really encouraged and used.

Project Labor Agreements help make Good Jobs!”

Taxpayers and non-union contractors and their workforce should be dismayed by this statement because it points to a likely expansion of Executive Order 13502

Section 7 of Executive Order 13502 directs the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with Labor Secretary Solis and other White House officials, to make “recommendations about whether the broader use of project labor agreements, with respect to both construction projects undertaken under federal contracts and construction projects receiving federal financial assistance, would help to promote the economical, efficient, and timely completion of such projects.”

Expansion of Executive Order 13502 could translate into requirements or incentives to use PLAs for state and local construction projects receiving federal assistance, grants, loans or funding.

This federal mandate could force contractors in low construction union density states to import union labor and create a barrier to jobs for local qualified non-union workers and their employers.  In the event that non-union workers are allowed to participate in a PLA, this mandate will force workers to pay union dues and fees and forfeit retirement benefits earned on a PLA project in order to earn a living.  It would give Big Labor an unfair advantage when competing against quality local non-union businesses with highly skilled employees for public construction projects.

The reduced competition and inefficient union work rules in typical PLAs will also drive up the cost of construction.  This could impact local and state construction budgets that can’t afford to build four schools, roads and hospitals for the price of five.

Let’s hope the Secretary of Big Labor Hilda Solis puts the interests of ALL workers ahead of the discriminatory and costly special interests of Big Labor.

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