In a Feb. 9 guest column in the Des Moines Register, State Representative Ralph Watts offers his thoughts on Governor Chet Culver’s Executive Order 22, which encourages state agencies to consider project labor agreements (PLAs) on state construction, and also some of Big Labor’s other priority issues in Iowa in 2010.
On Executive Order 22 and PLAs:
Last week the governor showed one more time that he is more concerned about his base in the labor unions than he is with the taxpayers.
The governor announced at a Des Moines meeting of the construction trades group that he was going to issue an executive order in which any state building would be “required to consider” the use of project labor agreements in issuing the construction contract.
What he said really wasn’t what he meant.
He fully intends for any state building to be built under a project labor agreement but the executive order as written said the agencies would be required only to “consider” a project agreement.
Project labor agreements have been shown to increase the cost significantly of public buildings and have a significant long-term effect of increasing property taxes.
So, the governor can say he only suggested the use of a project agreement, but I think all of the agencies got the message.
On repealing Iowa’s Right to Work status and enacting prevailing wage requirements:
Bills were filed which will be taken up this week that revives the battle on several contentious labor issues that led to the speaker throwing the public out of the chamber last year and the stunt where the speaker left the voting machine open over an entire weekend to pressure some of his members to support the bill.
There is no question that the labor unions are putting on the full court press for their legislation to be passed in one way or another during this session. Many of the union issues are being incrementally passed through a variety of bills in more than one committee.
The next couple weeks will likely be very contentious at the Legislature.