On Friday, May 20, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) signed HB 1498, which prohibits the use of government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on state and local construction projects. It also prohibits involuntary PLAs on projects that receive state financial support and bars local elected officials from enacting wage requirements that are higher than Tennessee’s prevailing wage rates.
Tennessee is the fourth state to enact a ban on these Big Labor handouts so far in 2011. Eight states have now banned involuntary PLAs on state and local projects funded by taxpayers.
This Act is further evidence that taxpayers are tired of the government picking winners and losers on projects funded with their money. Through their state’s government, the people of Tennessee have taken steps to ensure that they will receive the best construction for the best price. Always. Additionally, this Act will guarantee that the 94 percent of Tennessee’s workforce that chooses not to join a labor organization will be able to compete on a level playing field for projects funded by their own tax dollars.
This Act also shows that Tennessee is open for the large-scale investment that is pivotal to growing long-term employment. In other words, Tennessee leaders renewed their commitment to being open for business. During the last ten years, Tennessee has been a leader in economic development, with thousands of high paying jobs coming to the state since 2000. Banning government-mandated PLAs shows that state leaders are serious about maintaining the state’s Right to Work-style policies that have led to increased prosperity in the Volunteer State.
This Act is also one more rebuke of President Obama’s Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal projects costing more than $25 million. As more states stand up against PLAs, it is further evidence that Americans don’t want government-mandated PLAs on taxpayer-funded work.