Des Moines Register: Labor Deal Not Worth Backlash

0 February 10, 2010  State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

The Des Moines Register editorial board has offered their opinion on Governor Chet Culver’s Executive Order 22, which encourages state agencies to consider the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on state construction.

While we don’t agree with the editorial board on every point in their piece, (especially their analysis of the Iowa Events Center PLA.  Check out our earlier post for more information on that project), their message is on point.

Here is an excerpt:

Although union groups cheered, the governor’s executive order stopped short of mandating state agencies use the union-friendly construction agreements; he only suggested agencies in the executive branch “consider” them on projects over $25 million. Yet, it ripped open an old wound with non-union contractors who immediately denounced the move.

The editorial board goes on to say:

The governor’s executive order was calculated to win support from Iowa labor groups, and it appeared to do that, but the question is whether the state will actually follow his suggestion. The biggest projects on the horizon are two state prisons that will cost nearly $200 million. The Iowa Department of Corrections will have to choose whether harmony on the construction site is worth the disharmony of a major political battle. It would seem not.

Regardless of whether you believe Big Labor’s claim that PLAs are necessary to ensure work site harmony (we don’t), it is clear that the Register’s editorial board believes this order is mostly about politics and not about protecting taxpayers.

Here at, we think that if our elected leaders spent more time protecting taxpayers, they would have to spend less time worrying about the politics.

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