Merit Shop Advocates Prepare to Open a New Front in the Fight Against PLAs in California

2 June 9, 2011  State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

Merit shop advocates in California are taking the fight against wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs) to northern California.  This campaign will make the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County the 8th and 9th local government entities in California to ban government-mandated PLAs.

Here is a press release from the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction announcing their event to unveil the campaign in Sacramento:

Press Conference Today Will Unveil Sacramento Initiatives to Ban Union-Only Agreements on Publicly Funded Construction

Coalition’s Efforts Will Ban Union Monopolies on New Arena and Other Publicly Funded Construction Projects in Sacramento

Sacramento-Building on the success of similar ordinances passed overwhelmingly with voters in other parts of California, a coalition of merit shop contractors, associations, taxpayer groups, and businesses will unveil today a campaign to ban the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on publicly funded projects in the County and City of Sacramento. The Fair and Open Competition measures would make it impossible for big labor special interests to use their influence with elected officials to force workers to join a union as a condition of employment on publicly funded projects. Typically referred to as PLAs, these agreements force workers to pay union dues, pay into union pension plans, and exclude merit shop apprentice explicitly.

“Soon the taxpayers of this great City and County will be free of the waste, fraud, and exclusion associated with PLAs.” said Dina Kimble, a principal with Royal Electric, a Sacramento based merit shop electrical contractor. “Once we pass these measures workers will no longer fear they will be excluded or forced to pay for the privilege of working on projects paid for with their own tax dollars.”

Currently union special interests are targeting PLAs on the new $387 million Kings Arena, the $2 billion County Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Project, the $270 million South Sacramento Corridor Phase 2 Regional Transit District Project, and the $6 billion Railyard Development, among other projects.

“Taxpayers have seen millions of dollars wasted on publicly funded projects across our region thanks to these insidious agreements.” said Bob Blymyer with the Sacramento County Taxpayers League. “In these tough economic times it is critical that taxpayers be given the best product at the best price, something that is impossible with a PLA in place.”

Over the past 15 years more than two dozen PLAs have been implemented or attempted on projects in the City and County, including the new SMUD Corporate Yard, the new Sacramento Airport Expansion, and all work currently taking place at Sacramento City Unified School District.

Today’s press conference will see more than 100 supporters gather at 8th and F Street in downtown Sacramento at 11:00am. At this press conference Fair and Open Competition Sacramento will announce that two signature gathering efforts are being kicked off as part of a $1.5 million campaign to end union-only agreements in both the City and County of Sacramento. Similar bans have been put into place across California including in the County of San Diego where last November 76% of voters supported a PLA-ban.

Please visit to find out more or call 916-905-2698.

Here at, we are optimistic that the people of Sacramento will opt to follow the lead of Chula Vista, Oceanside and San Diego County.  Voters in these communities voted overwhelmingly to ban these Big Labor handouts on taxpayer funded construction projects.

UPDATE: A photo from the event is below.  A more detailed account of the event will be available soon.


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2 Responses to Merit Shop Advocates Prepare to Open a New Front in the Fight Against PLAs in California

alan w. jorgensen December 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

In the area of skilled, dangerous,trades you can’t beat union trained apprentices and journeyman tradesman. I have seen the horrific waste of material and time on non-union sites because you get what you pay for no matter what it looks like on paper. There was recent death in a elevator here on a state university campus because the state makes up it’s own rules and doesn’t employ union trained personnels. Plus my union dues far outweigh substandard pay, not benefits, and no retirement and these are not golden ripoffs, but livable and worth every penny I am assessed.

Ben Brubeck December 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

Thanks for your comments Alan. What union and local are you in? Please know that there are outstanding nonunion contractors employing a highly trained and safe workforce who receive generous wages and excellent benefits. Unfortunately, they are harmed by PLA mandates.

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