Play Project Labor Agreement Challenge — Can anyone really defend PLAs?

James Spencer of, documents how municipalities in California are increasingly dropping Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). Spencer says he still hasn’t seen any argument that truly makes the case for PLAs. In fact, he asks anyone in SEIU or the building trades to explain how a project labor agreement is any different than a standard contract entered into between two parties. See the challenge below:

In fact, I would like to invite anyone to give me a straight answer as to how a project labor agreement is any different than a standard contract entered into between two parties.

Everyday, individuals and organizations bind themselves to provide goods and services through a contract with specific terms and conditions. You don’t need a project labor agreement that requires municipalities give public dollars to union slush funds to ensure strikes don’t occur, local employees get preference or that workers are paid prevailing wage. You just need a good contract.

Why would any organization choose to shorten its list of potential bidders when the goal should be to find the highest quality of work at the lowest bid? The problem is, PLAs are more about what the unions want.

I would invite anyone to offer a reason why any government should give a union a monopoly or preferential treatment at the expense of taxpayers and other businesses, especially when there’s no real benefit in return. I’d love to hear a single sound take on the matter at

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  1. Wendy Lack says

    Even the New York Times is covering the waning use of union labor in NY construction projects, reporting that union construction companies estimate that 2 in 5 projects are now non-union:

    When will public agencies in Contra Costa endeavor to obtain the BEST VALUE FOR EVERY TAX DOLLAR by rejecting PLAs?

    Oh well, now that the County, most school districts and many other local agencies are flat broke, there may be less construction undertaken in the near term. Even more reason for government policymakers everything possible to stretch every dollar as far as they can . . . especially before asking taxpayers for new infusions of cash.

  2. Richard S. Colman says

    And who likes Project Labors Agreements? These people do: George Miller; John Garamendi; Susan Bonilla; and Gary Eberhart. The first two are member of Congress. Bonilla is running for the State Assembly; and Eberhart is on the board of the Mt. Diablo school district,

    Richard S. Colman
    Orinda, CA
    July 12, 2010

    ~ EDITOR REJOINS — Yes, and none of them has ever defended PLAs to anyone’s satisfaction except those they serve: the unions!