December 4, 2009
It must seem like another in an endless rerun of a horror movie for the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Yet another court, this time the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, has flatly rejected a motion to implement an injunction to prohibit a Project Labor Agreement on a 4,100 bed, $400 million state prison project in Montgomery County, PA.
The ABC – those ardent defenders of the “low-road” construction business model that has been so successful over the years in destroying construction wage and community living standards (not to mention being the primary source for the exponential growth in the numbers of undocumented workers in our nation) – had petitioned the Court to deny the state’s Department of General Services from entering into any Project Labor Agreements.
In essence, the Court endorsed the results of a research project conducted by Keystone Research Center which concluded that a Project Labor Agreement on this prison project would ensure greater jobsite efficiencies, cost containment, and on-time delivery of the project.
This is just one more in a long line of examples where courts at every level, in every region of the United States, have determined, through exhaustive reviews of all manner of individual PLAs, that such agreements – in certain circumstances and upon appropriate review by the government entity – are valid and beneficial to the government and therefore the taxpayer.
As we have said over and over, it is extremely interesting that the ABC and it’s “bottom feeder” cohorts never seem to mount any challenges to, or even offer any criticisms of, PLAs in the private sector. Probably the best argument for PLAs in the public sector is that they have been utilized for decades in the private sector by large, sophisticated, experienced, and cost-conscious and profit-minded owners, developers, construction managers and contractors. They want the best results in the most cost-effective and time-sensitive manner possible. Disney World, the GM Saturn Plant, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, dozens of professional sports stadiums, and all eight of Toyota’s American manufacturing facilities, are but a small example of multitude of major private projects that have all successfully utilized PLAs.
If Project Labor Agreements continue to be utilized by the profit-oriented private sector, there must be a reason. Clearly, that reason is this: THEY WORK! And if they work for the private sector, they will work for the public sector.
Pennsylvania’s courts surely understand this.
A PDF file of the Commonwealth Court's decision is being posted today on both www.bctd.org and www.PLAsWork.org