Project Labor Agreements are an Assault on Small Business

Anti-competitive government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) are special interest schemes that end open, fair and competitive bidding on public construction projects. It’s another way Big Labor and its handpicked political cronies assault small businesses and nonunion employees in the construction industry, which already is suffering from 27.1 percent unemployment.

Diane Williamson, a Worcester Telegram columnist, takes Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick to the woodshed for encouraging a policy of “disguised” “union entitlement” and supporting government-mandated PLAs on a variety of public works projects (“Union-only state policy is unfair,” 4/1/10).

It is unclear how President Obama escaped Williamson’s wrath, as he signed Executive Order 13502 Feb. 6, 2009 — a gift to Big Labor that encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal construction projects costing more than $25 million.

Here is more from Williamson:

The union and open-shop sides differ on the strength of their numbers. Mr. Cogliano says close to 80 percent of the construction force is nonunion, while the pro-union faction says 55 percent of the force is unionized. Regardless, it doesn’t make sense to engage in what’s been dubbed “economic apartheid” by the mayor of Philadelphia. The merit shops don’t expect special favors — why should the unions?

Mr. Cogliano has written a three-page letter to the governor, saying that his members deserve the opportunity to bid and work on public projects funded with their tax dollars.

“You would lock them out simply because they make a free and conscious decision not to join a labor union,” he wrote. “With all due respect, this policy is wrong and it appears to be nothing less than political favoritism at the expense of beleaguered taxpayers.”

He’s right, and here’s one beleaguered taxpayer asking our leaders to put a nail in the coffin of union entitlement, however it’s disguised.

Disguised union entitlement. That’s a solid and accurate description of government-mandated PLAs.

You can learn more about PLAs and how local governments and President Obama are attempting to deny jobs to 85.5 percent of the U.S. private construction workforce — those who have opted not to join a labor union — and preventing small businesses and their nonunion employees from delivering to taxpayers the best possible product at the best possible price at

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