An opinion piece by Dan Fagen of the Alaska Standard takes Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to task for not standing up against discriminatory and costly project labor agreements (PLAs) (“Parnell refuses to do the right thing,” 3/15)
There are times when something is so obviously wrong and immoral, that when a politician refuses to do something about it, you question their character.
Such is the case with Governor Sean Parnell and his refusal to do something about project labor agreements. Project labor agreements or PLA’s require non-union workers to pay cash to unions if they want to work on certain jobs.
For example, the recent contract signed between the city of Anchorage and the IBEW union requires all electricians who chose not to join the IBEW to give the IBEW cash if they want to do electrical work for the city.
Why would government force anyone to pay a politically connected organization cash just to get a job? The IBEW and its members have given a lot of campaign contributions to former Mayor Mark Begich and the controlling faction on the Anchorage Assembly. So When Begich and the Assembly approved the IBEW contract, they rewarded the union and its members for donating to them by requiring non-union electricians to pay the union cash if those non-union workers want to do work for the city. There’s a word for all of this; extortion. Legalized extortion yes. But extortion nonetheless.
The fact that unions use politicians to discriminate and extort money from those to refuse to join their ranks is nothing new. Especially among Democrats. But the confusing part of all this is Sean Parnell. With a single signature, Parnell could issue an administrative order doing away with project labor agreements for state funded projects. Most of the projects the city is involved in are state funded.
20 other governors have banned project labor agreements. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota being the latest example.
Why is Parnell refusing to sign an administrative order that would end extortion of workers refusing to join unions? His office, after repeated calls is refusing to say.
I have a suspicion. Mr. Parnell is more worried about getting elected than doing the right thing. He seems to want to avoid any controversy at any time. What does his refusal to do the right thing say about his character? It says everything.
To hear IBEW business manager Larry Bell and I in a heated debate over PLA’s, click on the audio link below to hear his call to my show on Friday.