The Massachusetts Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has launched a new billboard telling Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to halt the assault on Massachusetts small business.
In June, the UMass Building Authority approved a requirement that all construction contractors must enter into a wasteful project labor agreement (PLA) with Big Labor in order to work on projects that are part of the Boston Campuses’ Master Plan, a 10-year, $750 million blueprint for the future of the campus.
Gov. Patrick has repeatedly stated that he supports PLAs on state construction projects. Additionally, he appointed two union representatives to the UMass Building Authority Board of Directors. In a tough election year, the decision to require PLAs as a condition of working on these projects fulfills a promise to a special interest group whose support he needs to get reelected in November.
Here are some quick facts on PLAs in MA:
- Studies have concluded PLAs increase the cost of construction by significantly decreasing competition. PLAs increase the cost of projects by at least 14 percent, as noted in reports on the subject by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University and the Worcester Municipal Research Bureau. Increased costs due to PLAs vary. For example, Fall River’s PLA increased costs by a range of anywhere from 15 percent to 100 percent over budget on a school building project.
- PLAs require the use of union labor, yet 80 percent of the construction workforce in Massachusetts is non-union, or open shop, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported at the independent website, www.unionstats.com [Note: Organized labor relies on its own, self-reported data, which is not independently verified by a government agency or an independent third party.]
- PLAs circumvent the intention of the public bidding law by restricting competition and increasing costs, and by steering work to political supporters instead of allowing a fair and open bidding process under which the lowest bidding, qualified firm wins the contract.
- PLAs and other union-only construction policies are opposed by minority-owned construction firms and create “an environment of economic apartheid,” in the words of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
- In a recent Suffolk University/7News poll, 69% of likely Massachusetts voters opposed the use of requirements to hire only from union halls on state projects.
- Boston’s Big Dig multi-billion dollar cost overun boondoggle was built with a PLA.
It is time to tell Gov. Patrick to Halt the Assault and remove the UMass PLA requirement:
To email Gov. Patrick click here
Letters can be addressed to:
Gov. Deval Patrick
Office of the Governor
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA 02133
Visit HalttheAssault/UMass to learn more about this effort.
(Crossposted with HalttheAssault.com)