Sunday the Boston Herald editorial board wrote a piece summarizing the latest study on costly and anti-competitive project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects from the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) and agreed with one of the BHI’s key conclusions about PLAs (“Political Payback,” 9/27).
The institute’s latest report on PLAs casts doubt on the only rationale for the agreements – to assure labor “peace.” We were certainly fed that bill of goods when the Big Dig was put under a PLA. What Tuerck found in examining the eight years of non-PLA construction during the Bush administration was that there were no instances of labor dispute that resulted in significant delays or cost escalations – repeat, none!
What the institute study did confirm is that PLAs add anywhere from 12 to 18 percent to construction costs. Tuerck calculated that had the executive order been in effect in 2008, taxpayers would have been picking up the tab for an additional $1.6 billion to $2.6 billion.
“Our report found that there is no reason to implement a PLA on a federal construction project except . . . for political payback to union leaders,” Tuerck said.
That’s the sad truth, and we’ll all be paying that price.
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com agrees that in the public construction market, government-mandated PLAs are nothing more than a poorly disguised and conceived mechanism to repay Big Labor for their political support. At the expense of taxpayers and qualified non-union employees and contractors, PLAs funnel construction contracts to unionized contractors and their union workforce, or subject those few non-union employers willing to sign a PLA into forcing employees to pay union dues and work without benefits for the life of a PLA project paid for by their own tax dollars.
Government-mandated PLAs and Executive Order 13502 deny hardworking taxpayers the accountability they deserve from government.