What is a PLA?

Taxpayers and public officials need to know that when considering the opportunity to build a new facility or to renovate an existing one; many difficult, complex decisions will need to be made. One of those decisions is whether to agree to a union-only project labor agreement (PLA).

PLAs are a separate and distinct contract from a standard market-based construction contract. They dictate labor requirements on the project and set a specific, and restrictive set of rules.

Most standard PLA agreements in Connecticut include language that requires all workers on the job be hired from the union hall for each trade. Not being able to use their own employees is a primary reason why nonunion contractors are forced to decide not to bid projects with PLAs.

In addition to discriminating against nonunion craftsmen, PLAs also increase the cost of construction by as much as 20 percent. It is important to understand that the construction industry is primarily nonunion. In Connecticut, unions comprise less than 20 percent of the workforce. By eliminating competition from the more than 80 percent of the construction workforce, the number of bidders on public projects goes down and the cost to taxpayers increases dramatically. It is simple economics – when you limit supply, you drive up costs.

You have two choices when building your project; include everyone union and nonunion, or exclude non-union workers -- over 80 percent of Connecticut’s local craftspeople.

The vast majority of construction projects are open and competitively bid (without a PLA) every day. Union and nonunion craftsmen working side by side in harmony. Free enterprise and open competition - not special interest monopolies - build Connecticut.