Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements Have a Dismal Record of Performance, Report Says

0 April 6, 2011  Federal Construction

Below is a story from ABC’s Newsline about a new report of interest to readers and the merit shop construction community.

Be sure to give Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements: The Public Record of Poor Performance (2011 Edition) a read.

Government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) negatively impact construction project costs, competition, timeliness, quality, safety and diversity, according to a report released in April.

Maurice Baskin, Venable LLP, looked at published sources, including media accounts and academic studies, which examined the actual progress of projects to disprove the claims that PLAs result in cost savings, help avoid delays and increase safety.

The report lists overwhelming evidence showing that PLA projects have experienced cost overruns. As an example, the Boston Central Artery Project, often referred to as the Big Dig, not only came in billions of dollars over budget, but also suffered from several major defects, countering the claims that PLAs help control costs and improve the quality of construction projects.

By comparing numerous instances where projects were bid both with and without a PLA, the report also showed that in every instance, PLAs significantly reduced the number of bids, negatively impacting competition on construction projects and often leading to increased costs.

PLAs impacted the ability of minorities and women to work on projects as well, the report showed.

In addition, the report refuted the claim that PLAs result in fewer delays by curbing labor disputes. According to the report, between 2001 and 2009, during the time when PLAs were prohibited on federal and federally-assisted construction projects, there were no significant labor disputes that caused delays on federal projects.

Citing several instances where PLA projects suffered from serious violations, many of which resulted in fatalities and injuries to workers and bystanders, the report showed that safety does not increase on PLA projects, either.

The report also gives an overview of the legal history of PLAs, pointing out that numerous states and several counties and cities have prohibited PLA mandates on state and local government-funded projects.

The report also pointed to a series of successful bid protests filed against PLA mandates resulting from President Obama’s Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to require the use of PLAs on federal projects.

“The published reports of PLA poor performance strongly support the assertion that government-mandated PLAs, aside from their questionable legality, are a bad bargain for taxpayers,” the study stated.


Stay tuned for more analysis and coverage on the report this week here at

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