The January 17 Los Angeles Business Journal includes an opinion piece (Laboring Under ‘Greenmail’) by thetruthaboutPLAs.com blogger Kevin Dayton of Associated Builders and Contractors of California explaining that Los Angeles-based construction unions are exploiting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other environmental laws to hold up permits until the private developers of proposed projects agree to require their contractors to sign a project labor agreement (PLA).
Dayton cites a December 15 announcement that the developers of the planned reconstruction of the Wilshire Grand hotel and office building in downtown Los Angeles agreed to a PLA with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council. He’s not impressed with the announcement:
Finally, developers need to stop perpetuating the problem by participating in Orwellian press conferences and other media events to celebrate their surrender to union extortion. Instead, they should work openly in the public (or quietly behind the scenes) to reveal the real plot behind the agreements. Even Californians who support a strong union movement are queasy about CEQA abuse, and most Californians are repulsed by it.
Regrettably, developers in Los Angeles have been and are under great pressure to sign PLAs or risk having their projects tangled up in environmental objections and political obstacles. Los Angeles has become perhaps the capital for project labor agreements in the country, with dozens of public and private programs and projects subject to them and few people willing to openly question their cost and purpose. Dayton has said “The best indicator that the City of Los Angeles is headed inevitably toward bankruptcy is its insatiable drive to give unions a monopoly on construction.”