Today, Lucas County (Ohio) Commissioners will discuss an agenda item, “Incorporating Project Labor Agreements into Bidding Specifications for all County-Supported Projects.” (Download PDF). Led by Commissioner Ben Konop, this sop to Big Labor is an attempt to require PLAs on all Lucas County projects.
11/25 Update: Maggie Thurber reports that the Commissioners delayed the vote until Dec. 1. Keep up the pressure.
Now is the time to let Commissioners know that special interest politics have no place in Lucas County, Ohio.
Local contractors, taxpayers and citizens opposed to PLAs are upset. Warner Todd Huston has covered the discriminatory and costly nature of PLAs before and summarizes the essence of the problem with “forced unionism” inherent in typical PLAs (“Ohio’s Ben Konop Wants Kids to Starve so he can Give Gov’t Payoffs to Unions,” 11/23).
This forced unionism raises the costs of government projects, causes delays to construction deadlines and fills the pockets of corrupt union officials that work hand-in-hand with pliant government officials who then find union campaign cash coming their way. A PLA is essentially just a payoff to unions as there really is no legitimate reason to force non-union businesses to operate under union domination. PLAs are little else but a direct transfer of government funds (your tax dollars) straight into the hands of corrupt union officials and their bank accounts.
Huston links to a blog entry of Maggie Thurber — a critic of PLAs who exposes the weak arguments used to promote PLAs and this measure — and questions the warped logic used in the summary paragraph of the Lucas County PLA agenda:
Whereas this Board of County Commissioners is responsible for facilitating funds for social services, employers who contract to construct county-supported projects are effectively compensated with public dollars and should pay their workers enough so that those same workers might not also rely on taxpayer-funded social services. Applying project labor agreements on all county-supported construction projects, which will ensure workers on those projects are paid prevailing or union-negotiated wages, will also create more opportunities for our local working families, promote fair-bidding practices, protect area standards, avoid disruptions, delays and labor disputes, and create a higher level of workmanship on the aforementioned projects.
Here is what Huston has to say about this warped logic:
If this isn’t the most warped logic to force a transfer of government money to unions you’ve ever seen then… well, you aren’t paying attention!
Look at what this union supporting political hack is saying. He’s saying that he wants to force unionism on all contracts so that the “public” won’t go on welfare. So, he wants to take government money to pay workers so he doesn’t have to take government money to pay people who won’t work? Notice, though, that government money is still going out the door! This fool is just shifting the government money from the welfare office to the funds that pay for building projects. What’s the difference? Only the tiny mind of a Democrat can see the difference.
But, let’s face the truth here. The true crime of this whole thing is that Commissioner Ben Konop is proposing that the county take money away from welfare so that he can give it to his favorite union pals. This guy wants children to starve so that his union thug buddies can get some government cash! This truly is a new age of Obama! Welfare recipients come in second to union chiefs.
Hutson’s argument is an interesting one, although President Obama can’t be blamed for this giveaway to Big Labor at the local level despite the fact that Obama is promoting PLAs on federal construction projects greater than $25 million via Executive Order 13502.
However, the blame could be fairly placed on the President’s shoulders for similar government-mandated PLAs at the local level. And soon. Remember that Section 7 of Executive Order 13502 calls for Secretary of Labor Solis and the OMB to make recommendations to the White House about expanding the use of government-mandated PLAs. Mandating or encouraging PLAs on federally-assisted projects at the state and local level, such as a Lucas County project, may very well be the White House’s next step in manipulating the free market in favor of the special interests of Big Labor.
The TruthAboutPLAs.com will be keeping an eye on the Lucas County measure, as well Section 7 and Executive Order 13502.