After a rancorous meeting on Tuesday, January 5, the Long Beach, California City Council voted 7-1 to direct the city manager to evaluate the potential for a wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreement (PLA) on the $35 million Long Beach airport terminal improvement project.
Here’s an excerpt from the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s coverage (Our emphasis added):
James Kerr, a Paramount contractor and president of the board of the Associated Builders, said taxpayers deserve the best workers they can get, regardless of where they are from.
“With the PLA, you’re going to have strings attached,” Kerr said.
However, PLA supporters refuted many of these claims, as did some council members, and the council majority seemed convinced that a PLA will ensure local hiring on the airport project.
Tom Moxley, president of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trade Council, called Lofstrom’s claims “half-truths,” arguing that PLAs do in fact require local hiring.
“We have studies to prove that it doesn’t increase costs,” Moxley said.
Before opponents spoke, Mayor Bob Foster also contradicted some of their anticipated arguments against PLAs.
He said that up to 30 percent of the project workforce could be hired locally through a PLA.
“Don’t come up here with comments about how expensive they are,”
Foster said. “They are not.”
Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, we strongly disagree with Mayor Foster’s analysis.
To give some context to this story, the Long Beach City Council voted 9-0 to direct staff to prepare a PLA policy and “Long Beach Jobs Initiative” that would cover all city-funded projects, including a major planned airport expansion in 2005.
Organizations including the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, and the ABC Southern California and Los Angeles/Ventura chapters worked to keep the city free of PLAs for the next 4½ years.
Despite this effort, it looks like Big Labor may finally get their way, despite the numerous studies that show PLAs significantly increase construction costs. Long Beach residents can expect the construction costs to increases on this projects by as much as 18 percent – or over $6 million – if a PLA is adopted.
If you live in Long Beach, contact your city council members and tell them to say NO to wasteful and discriminatory PLAs.