Yesterday the Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee held a hearing on project labor agreements (PLAs) and legislation (House Bill 2010, The Open Contracting Act) introduced by Reps. Stan Saylor (R-York) and John Bear (R-Lancaster) that would prohibit government-mandated PLAs on PA and PA-funded construction projects.
PA lawmakers, nonunion contractors, employees and other business groups and construction associations testified about the problems associated with government-mandated PLAs. Big Labor had their chance to argue in support of PLAs too.
Perhaps the most interesting testimony of the day was submitted by Terrence M. McDonough of the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania (GCAP). GCAP is the association representing union contractors in PA. That’s right, UNION contractors. Learn why GCAP is opposed to government-mandated PLAs from their submitted testimony:
GCAP represents the member interests of the Master Builders Association of Western PA (MBA), the Keystone Contractors Association (KCA) and the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA). As such, we are the statewide voice for more than 500 union-affiliated general and specialty contractors and their affiliates throughout the Commonwealth.
While GCAP members regularly employ a union workforce, our general contractors have no seat at the table when a PLA is negotiated between a public owner and a union. In the current process, the provisions agreed to by the union are for their benefit and their benefit alone.
GCAP opposes government-mandated PLAs on any publicly funded construction projectbecause we believe that publicly financed contracts should be awarded without regard to the lawful labor relations policies and practices of the government contractor. GCAP believes that neither a public owner nor its representative should mandate the use of a PLA that would compel any firm, union or nonunion, to change its labor policy or practice in order to compete for or to perform work on a publicly financed project. GCAP further believes that government-mandated PLAs restrain competition, drive up costs and disrupt local collective bargaining.
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com encourages readers to review all of the GCAP testimony because it presents some additional reasons why PLAs are bad public policy and only benefit special interests. Here is a press release from GCAP on the testimony.
Big Labor is quick to paint the debate about PLAs as a union vs. ABC issue, but it really isn’t. Associated General Contractors (AGC), Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the National Black Chamber of Commerce and many other associations, employers and employees are opposed to discriminatory and costly government-mandated PLAs.
The live video of the hearing has not been archived and made available to the public yet, but we promise to link to it ASAP.
After the hearing, PA lawmakers were quick to explain how PLAs are unfair, discriminatory, costly and bad public policy.
Here is Rep. John Bear on PLAs:
Rep. Matt Gabler says that instituting fair labor practices should be a priority and it is time to allow for competitive bidding and fair practices on PA funded construction projects. Click here for a video of his comments.
Click here for the video of Rep. Stan Saylor discussing his support of efforts to eliminate unjust labor practices.
Click here to watch Rep. Jerry Stern explain why PLAs are bad for Pennsylvania workers.
Rep. Dick Stevenson says this debate over PLAs is about fairness.
TheTruthAboutPLAs is pleased that PA lawmakers, union contracting associations and other groups that testified yesterday were not afraid to take a public stand in support of fairness, open competition and job opportunities for all PA employers, employees and their families.
Update: Here is some related media coverage.