Putting Bread on the Table for Big Labor

2 July 19, 2010  Federal Construction, State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

There was a small blurb from the Honolulu Star Advertiser’s (Gubernatorial Rivals Court Carpenters Union, 7/18) coverage of the Democrat gubernatorial candidates’ audition for the Hawaii Carpenters Union endorsement that is worth covering.  Current Hawaii Representative and gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie (HI-1) gave a quote that is telling about the true nature of wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs).

He [Rep. Abercrombie] said he “put bread on your [Hawaii Carpenters Union] table, year after year after year,” through project labor agreements for military housing projects.

Clearly, Rep. Abercrombie recognizes that PLAs are nothing more than special interest handouts that essentially ensure that only union workers have the opportunity to compete for these projects.  He is telling the Carpenters Union that he has done his best to make sure they get public work, at the expense of the vast majority of the Hawaiian construction workforce that decided not to join a labor union.

Taxpayers deserve the best public construction at the best price.  Always.  These types of handouts are unacceptable and we hope Hawaiian voters consider this type of mentality when they make their primary decision on September 18.

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2 Responses to Putting Bread on the Table for Big Labor

Datruth July 22, 2010 at 4:00 am

“Taxpayers deserve the best public construction at the best price…”
Exactly! They DO NOT deserve carpenters and other tradespeople trained by an underfunded program that can only afford to train their apprentices online, and may or may not graduate 1 or 2 people a year!

The flip side to the quote pulled from the blog is: You get what you pay for!

BenBrubeck July 22, 2010 at 10:40 am

I think you are painting with a broad brush here. There are plenty of qualified nonunion tradespeople and apprentices that do just as good of a job, if not better, than union members. (What about all of the union workers that have left the union to work nonunion – don’t they have the same skills and training as card-carrying union members?) The difference is that skilled and qualified nonunion employees have little chance of working on PLA projects.

What if nonunion firms pressured hand-picked and PAC supported public officials to sign an agreement that effectively limited the workforce on construction projects to nonunion employees? Wouldn’t you, as a union and PLA proponent, be asking for a fair shot to compete, too? Wouldn’t you oppose government cronyism?

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