Do PLAs Ensure an all CT Workforce?

Projects that are open and competitively bid (no PLA) are built successfully every day. Union and nonunion craftsmen work side by side in harmony. In fact, on many Connecticut construction projects without a PLA, union contractors are the successful bidder on over 50 percent of total contracts. But union business agents are paid to secure the entire project – and the best way to do that is to eliminate the competition.

One tactic used to sell project labor agreements (PLA) is a promise that all workers on the job will be local to the project or to guarantee a certain percentage. There are two problems with that. First, many PLAs have no provision for local hiring goals, or consequences for not meeting goals that might exist. Second, PLA proponents neglect to disclose that local hiring can be achieved without the use of a PLA. Many contracts without a PLA have language with local worker preference similar to:

Each contractor and subcontractor must make a good faith effort to meet the goal of utilizing over 10 percent local residents. Local residents are defined as someone who lives within 20 miles of the project’s zip code.

Each contractor has agreed to put forth a good faith effort in documenting its compliance by completing reporting forms with their monthly certified payroll. Upon signing their contract, contractors will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they understand and agree with the reporting procedures.

If contractors or subcontractors have a hiring need for this project, they will advertise it in the local paper. They will also notify the town hall so the opening can be posted. The contractor will make a good faith effort to hire from within the qualified residents of the project area before seeking further applicants.

These are the facts:
  • Many Connecticut PLA projects have out of state and/or workers living over 30 miles away.
  • Many local workers can’t work on a PLA project, thus eliminating the very residents the town seeks to assist.
  • PLAs often don’t meet their local worker goals or promises.
  • You can achieve local worker goals without a PLA.