Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Editorial: The Project Labor Agreement Shakedown

0 October 12, 2009  Federal Construction, Uncategorized

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran a scathing editorial about project labor agreements (PLAs) in light of the controversy surrounding Executive Order 13502 and the government-mandated PLA on the new U.S. Department of Labor Job Corps Center in Manchester, New Hampshire (“The PLA Shakedown,” 10/11).

PLAs pervertedly are touted as giving taxpayers more bang for their buck. Union labor supposedly assures “greater quality” because “fair” wages must be paid, which promotes “labor peace” and efficiency.

Actually, it’s nothing but bribery, extortion, collusion, discrimination and restraint of free trade all rolled into one putrid ball — and all sanctioned by the government you bankroll.

A Beacon Hill Institute analysis convincingly debunks the shibboleth of PLAs buying “labor peace”; there were no examples of significant work slowdowns or cost overruns in the Bush administration, during which PLAs were discouraged.

But there are multiple studies that show PLAs grossly inflate project costs up to 20 percent. The same Beacon Hill study concludes that had such agreements been in place in 2008, the cost of federal construction projects (each exceeding $25 million) would have increased by as much as $2.6 billion.

There are no convincing arguments for project labor agreements. And using them to tap the public purse to pay off an ever-shrinking minority — organized labor — in an attempt to bolster it for political gain should be a criminal offense.

TheTruthAboutPLAs.com agrees and appreciates this editorial in light of the controversy surrounding the use of government-mandated PLAs on $800 million of Pennsylvania-funded prison construction.  Whether it is a federal project in New Hampshire or state projects in Pennsylvania, PLAs remain bad public policy.

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