San Diego County Supervisors Ban Project Labor Agreements

0 February 23, 2010  State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

The County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, representing the sixth most populous county in the country, voted 5-0 today to ban project labor agreements (PLAs) on County construction projects. 

On Mar. 2, 2010, the Supervisors will adopt the ordinance (second reading), adding section 428 to the County Administrative Code prohibiting the County from requiring PLAs on County construction projects.

According to item #11 on today’s agenda, the Board of Supervisors met to decide between two pro-taxpayer/pro-competition options that would effectively ban PLAs on San Diego County construction projects.

Option A, which we reported here, would place a proposed amendment to the County Charter on the June 8, 2010 ballot that would, if approved by the voters, prohibit San Diego County from requiring PLAs on County construction projects unless required by State or federal law.

Option B would implement an ordinance that would add a provision to the San Diego County Code of Administrative Ordinances (Administrative Code) restricting the use of PLAs on County construction projects.

The Supervisors chose Option B, as this option avoided the $100,000 price tag it would have cost the county to place the initiative on the June, 8 ballot.


The cost for an entity to place an item on the ballot is determined by the nature of the election, the number of sponsors and the complexity of the measures included. It is currently estimated that it would cost $100,000 to place the proposed Charter amendment on the ballot for the June 8, 2010 statewide primary election. No election is required for the proposed amendment to the Administrative Code. There are no anticipated costs associated with the implementation of either measure.

Contractors are still free to voluntarily sign and require PLAs.


Unless required by State or federal law, PLAs would be prohibited from being made a requirement of the award of County construction contracts. The restriction would not prohibit contractors that are awarded County contracts from independently negotiating PLAs. The proposed action will not, accordingly, prevent any business whether they use PLAs or not from being awarded County contracts. applauds this ordinance, as it will produce a fair and open competitive bidding process for all contractors and employees, regardless of their union affiliation, and it will ensure that San Diego County taxpayers get the best possible project at the best possible price.

Here is coverage from the San Diego News Network (“Supes close to banning PLAs,” 2/23).

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