This week, Ohio leaders stood up and said NO to taxpayer funded handouts to Big Labor. The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) voted Thursday to approve a policy that prohibits the use of government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on school construction projects financed by the OSFC. This reverses a policy adopted by former Gov. Ted Strickland’s OSFC, which encouraged school districts to require the use of PLAs.
The OSFC also overturned a Strickland era policy encouraging school districts to require contractors to adhere to prevailing wage requirements on these projects as well. Visit here for more information on the pricy impact of prevailing wage requirements on construction costs.
This is a HUGE win for Ohio taxpayers, as the majority of Ohio’s government-mandated PLAs have come on school construction projects.
Here are the highlights from the Columbus Dispatch’s coverage of the OSFC vote:
In another blow to organized labor and the legacy of former Gov. Ted Strickland, the Ohio School Facilities Commission yesterday repealed policies favoring unions for school-construction projects.
The commission, now controlled by appointees of GOP Gov. John Kasich, unanimously approved a resolution stating it no longer would approve contracts in which those bidding for projects were required to designate who would do the work, how much they would be paid or other mandates.
The move reverses policies enacted under the former Democratic administration that allowed districts to require the payment of prevailing wages and the use of project labor agreements mandating the employment of union workers.
“We hope to make our scarce tax dollars go farther,” said Ohio Budget Director Timothy S. Keen, who chairs the commission.
“This returns us to how the commission operated for 10 years,” he said, adding that the move will allow “free and open competition” for school-construction work.
Ohio has spent nearly $9 billion to build hundreds of schools since the commission was launched in 1997.
In a letter to the commission supporting the move, state Auditor Dave Yost said “these agreements, however well intentioned, may increase construction costs for school districts at a time when they can least afford it.”
By the way, don’t think PLAs increase construction costs? There are a couple great examples of the impact of PLAs in Ohio, where projects have been bid with and without PLAs. Check out our posts on the Euclid schools and the Schools for the Blind and Deaf.
Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, we commend the OSFC for standing up for taxpayers in Ohio. By allowing fair and open competition to dictate how school construction is awarded guarantees that taxpayers get the best construction at the best price.
We also want to commend State Auditor David Yost for his work to defend taxpayers. On Feb. 24, Auditor Yost sent a letter to the OSFC articulating his position that PLAs do not make fiscal sense. In his letter, Auditor Yost called out the Springfield Local Schools in Summit County, who decided to go forward with a PLA requirement despite their fiscal emergency brought on by significant budget deficits since 2007.
The common sense exercised by the OSFC in prohibiting PLAs on school construction it funds will serve the people of Ohio well. We urge the Ohio House of Representatives to use the same good fiscal sense when they hear H.B. 102, which will be heard by the House Commerce and Labor Committee on March 2.