Joe Fleischman of the FlashReport Weblog on California Politics obliterates project labor agreement (PLA) proponents’ frail arguments in light of a recent report that Milpitas City Library contractors violated labor laws despite the fact that this project was covered by a PLA (“More Fodder For Opponents Of Project Labor Agreements Courtesy Of Milpitas,” 1/12).
Mr. Fleishman on PLAs (emphasis added):
They’re nothing more than special interest giveaways to unions and provide no benefit to taxpayers. I can’t imagine any Republican that would support these agreements. Construction contracts of any kind should be awarded to the best bidder, regardless of if they’re union or non-union.
My friends on the left love to claim that these union giveaways guarantee quality and accountability on taxpayer financed projects. However, the Associated Builders and Contractors, California Cooperation Committee (ABC-CCC) and their Taxpayer Accountability Project have blown a hole in that argument. The City of Milpitas enacted a PLA for the construction of a $39 million library project. City officials boasted that this project, because of the PLA, was a resounding success. The problem for City officials stems from the fact that they never anticipated that any organization would actually audit the project to ensure state labor laws were followed.
Mr. Fleishman makes a crucial connection about PLAs in light of the findings of the Milpitas Library report (emphasis added):
… So to summarize, the PLA on the City of Milpitas Library project did not prevent labor compliance violations or ensure accountability by contractors.
This is yet another reason why I’m so proud of the Orange County Board of Supervisors who last year voted to ban PLAs. That was the right decision, because there’s absolutely no benefit in a PLA that cannot be derived through a simple contract. The only difference is that unions are forced to compete on a level playing field with other businesses. Perhaps they can’t compete on quality and cost, and that is why they take the fight to a political forum where campaign cash and electoral intimidation are the tools of the trade.
The FlashReport commends ABC-CCC for conducting labor compliance audits that debunk the union rhetoric. Let’s hope that the folks in Long Beach, who are considering a PLA for the remodeling of the airport terminal, as well as any local elected official that spends taxpayer money on public works projects are paying attention to these developments.