On May 6, 2013, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed S.B. 179, which will prohibit government entities in the state from requiring contractors to sign a project labor agreement (PLA) or other agreements with labor unions as a condition of performing work on public construction projects.
This new law will ensure that taxpayers get the best construction at the best price. PLA and other union-only mandates have been found to increase construction costs by an average of 12-18 percent—and much more in some cases.
It is likely that this new statute will ensure fair and open competition for the new Atlanta Falcons’ $950 million stadium project. Supporters of this bill believe that it will prevent the Georgia World Congress Center from requiring contractors to sign a PLA as a condition of performing work on the stadium project, which will give the 96 percent of Georgia’s private construction workforce that chooses not to join a union the opportunity to compete on a level playing field for work on this critical project.
Additionally, numerous examples of stadium projects subject to unnecessary PLA requirements gone bad show these mandates do not ensure a local workforce, quality construction, cost savings or on-time delivery. This point is critically important as local officials prepare for the construction of the new home for the Falcons.
Georgia is the 16th state to take action to protect taxpayers and the vast majority of the construction industry workforce from wasteful and discriminatory PLA mandates, and the 12th enact their reform since President Obama issued Executive Order 13502, which encouraged federal agencies to require PLAs on federal construction projects costing more than $25 million.
Despite the fact that only a small sliver of all American construction spending is subject to PLAs, Big Labor leaders are doing everything they can to grow their market share through pressuring public and private construction owners into mandating PLAs on their construction projects. Government neutrality laws, like the one adopted in Georgia this week, protect taxpayers by prohibiting public entities from requiring contractors to agree to Big Labor’s terms as a condition of performing construction work on taxpayer funded projects. This helps ensure that taxpayers get the best construction at the bests price.
Additionally, these laws also protect taxpayers from the cycle of corruption that frequently leads public officials to agree to require PLA mandates. When a state adopts one of these laws, everyone, except construction union bosses, wins.
Supporters of PLA reform are not finished with state-level efforts to guarantee quality and accountability on taxpayer funded construction projects. Similar bills are still alive in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
Taxpayers from coast-to-coast are saying NO to PLA mandates. Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, we strongly encourage all public officials to do the same.