USACE PLA Survey For New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Cleanup Project Due Feb. 5

0 January 31, 2013  Federal Construction

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is requesting comments from the construction community addressing a potential government-mandated project labor agreement (PLA) for a large-scale federal Hurricane Sandy Cleanup project in New Jersey: Beach Rehabilitation from Barnegat Inlet to Little Egg Inlet.

To review and learn how to respond to the PLA survey, click here.

Responses are due Tuesday, Feb. 5 by 4 p.m. (ET) and may be emailed to Emily M. Sheaffer, [email protected].

For more information or assistance responding to the PLA survey, contact us here. encourages the merit shop contracting community to respond to this PLA survey. Tell the USACE that government-mandated PLAs reduce competition, increase costs, and impede the economy and efficiency of government contracting.

Government-Mandated PLAs Threaten Federal and State Sandy Reconstruction Projects readers know government-mandated PLAs have been a hot topic in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as unions have tried to exploit this tragedy to create a monopoly supplying labor to rebuild the Garden State’s beaches and shore communities.

We reported how NJ Senate bill 2425, a measure introduced and fast-tracked by Senate President Stephen M.Sweeney (D), may expand the use of government-mandated PLAs on state and state-assisted projects not covered by existing laws favoring the use of PLA mandates. Sen. Sweeney makes $207,000 a year as a paid organizer for the International Association of Ironworkers (BSOIW), a union whose members typically benefit from PLA mandates on public construction projects. New Jersey Ironworkers’ locals, in particular, would profit from this proposed expansion of the PLA Act because they often perform significant work on bridge projects and other heavy infrastructure projects.

Gov. Christie has publicly opposed government-mandated PLAs and the contracting community is asking him to veto this special interest handout.

Two weeks ago we predicted this measure (if enacted), coupled with increased pressure on federal agencies like the USACE to mandate PLAs on large-scale construction projects funded by the $51 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill passed by the House, will make it very hard for nonunion contractors and their skilled employees to survive in New Jersey. Discriminatory PLA mandates are sure to harm the construction workforce as just one out of four New Jersey residents employed in the construction industry chooses to belong to a union according to data recently published at

In addition, a PLA mandate may needlessly cause delays and increase costs on this project.

In October 2010, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development released its FY 2008 report measuring the impact of PLA mandates on New Jersey school construction projects.

It found:

  • “PLA projects tended to have a longer duration than non-PLA projects.” For FY 2008, the average duration of PLA projects was 100 weeks compared with 78 weeks for non-PLA projects.
  •  “School projects that used a PLA tended to have higher building costs, as measured on a per square footage and per student basis, than those that do not use a PLA.” In fact, they are 30.5 percent higher than for all non-PLA projects

If you won’t take Gov. Christie administration data seriously, the findings of Democrat ex-Gov. Jon Corzine’s Labor Department found PLAs hiked school construction costs by as much as 34 percent.

While this project is obviously different than school construction, New Jersey specific data makes a strong case against a government-mandated PLA on this project.

PLA Survey Triggered by Obama Administration’s Union Favoritism

USACE and other federal agencies have issued more than 150 similar surveys requesting information about the potential use of PLAs on specific construction projects across the country as a result of regulations and federal agency policies stemming from President Obama’s pro-government-mandated PLA Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to mandate PLAs on a case-by-case basis for federal construction projects exceeding $25 million in total cost.

ABC has taken the opportunity to respond to all PLA surveys as they are issued and encourages the merit shop contracting community to do the same. Responding with accurate and timely information is critical and effective at creating more work for qualified merit shop contractors and their skilled employees.

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