In February 2012, the Santa Fe City Council adopted an ordinance that requires the use of community workforce agreements on all city projects costing more than $500,000. While this requirement may sound benign, a community workforce agreement is nothing more than a wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreement (PLA) rebranded to sound more appealing to the average voter.
If this ordinance is allowed to take effect, it would require successful bidders for city projects to recognize a union as the sole representative of their employees; hire most or all of their workforce from union hiring halls, instead of using their own employees; follow outdated and inefficient union work rules; pay into union pension and benefit programs; and require their workers to pay union dues and fees. As a result, the vast majority of New Mexico’s construction workforce will not have the opportunity to compete for projects funded by their own tax dollars. Those nonunion employees who are allowed to work on these projects will have to do so on the terms of a union boss. (Learn more)
Requirements like the one adopted by the Santa Fe City Council have a well-documented public record of poor performance. There is overwhelming evidence that these types of mandates on public construction projects lead to fewer bidders, virtually no involvement from the nonunion construction community and increased costs for taxpayers.
The Santa Fe ordinance was scheduled to take effect earlier this year, but city council members postponed its effective date in response to an uproar from the local contracting community that occurred when city leaders tried to impose this mandate on a small firehouse construction project in June 2012. Now, this wasteful and discriminatory requirement is scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1.
In anticipation, the New Mexico Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors has launched a campaign to educate Santa Fe residents about how this requirement will negatively impact their local construction community.
The more taxpayers learn about these wasteful and discriminatory mandates, the more they oppose them. People understand that our elected leaders have a responsibility to secure the best construction at the best price – and not to give political payback to special interest groups.
If you are a Santa Fe resident, we strongly urge you to contact your city council members and urge them to repeal the community workforce agreement requirement before it takes effect on Oct. 1.