Project Labor Agreements are costly and discriminatory pre-hire construction agreements that effectively restrict merit shop contractors and their employees from bidding and working on construction projects.
PLAs Prevent NonUnion Contractors from being able to even compete for bids to do construction jobs!
Worse yet, PLAs prevent Union Contractors who do get the bids from using non-union workers as even non-skilled entry level workers!
In effect, you cannot even pick up the trash and sweep the sidewalks if you are not a union worker when PLAs are involved!
What’s the problem?
Less than 12 percent of the private sector are unionized. That means that 89 percent of the workers and contractors can even try to feed their families because governmental regulations stack the deck in favor of unions!
Not in Michigan!
Jimmy Greene, CEO/President of Associated, Builders and Contractors, of Greater Michigan, could not hide his excitement about the wonderful news:
“WE WON! WE WON!! WE WON!!! We just won a huge victory over Building Trades Unions and sponsors of Job Killing PLA’s (Project Labor Agreements)! As of this morning at 10:55 AM government mandated PLAs are ILLEGAL in Michigan!!!!!!!”
Mr. Greene shared that the The United States Court of Appeals Court held:
“The act furthers Michigan’s proprietary goal of improving efficiency in public construction projects, and the act is no broader than is necessary to meet those goals. Thus, the law is not preempted by the NLRA.”
Under the act, bidding on public construction projects must be open to contractors whether or not they are parties to PLAs, and a governmental unit cannot discriminate in favor of or against a contractor because it is party to a PLA.
“The Michigan statute falls on the proprietary side of that line. Michigan’s statute advances the proprietary interest of efficient use of resources and is limited enough to advance only that interest. Accordingly, it is proprietary, and not regulatory, and therefore is not preempted by the NLRA”.
Mr. Greene concluded: “This has national implications and clears the way for ABC to fight government Mandated PLAs on behalf of the equal opportunity and free enterprise philosophy of the Merit Shop across the nation.
I must thank Associated Builders and Contractors for its tireless work on behalf of the Free Market.
However, I must also thank the Michigan Republican Party, who passed a law in 2011 that broadly prohibited PLAs on all public works projects. A law appealed by Michigan Labor unions who were not interested in a level playing field for Black Americans and Women.
The MIGOP boldly took on this critical Civil Rights issue, standing up for Blacks and Women in the State of Michigan who deserve to compete in a fair and open market. Sadly, they did so without the support of traditional civil rights organizations in Michigan, such as the NAACP and Urban League, in spite of the fact National Black and Women Construction Associations all spoke out against PLAs.
Nevertheless, the MIGOP did not flinch.
Michigan State Senator, Pat Colbeck (R-7th District) in an interview with me today, weighed in on PLAs the Court’s decision:
“This issue was one of the first labor issues brought up before me as a member of the Reform, Restructure, and Reinvent Committee in the Senate. I heard all of testimony and was appalled that this behavior was tolerated in our state. For far too long, “Project Labor Agreements” have effectively eliminated 85% of the prospective bidders on public works projects. Not only are these agreements a violation of the free market principles on which our country was founded, they effectively increase the cost of public works projects paid for by our hardworking taxpayers. I am a proud supporter of the ban on Project Labor Agreements in our state.”
Thanks to the integrity of elected officials such as Senator Colbeck and the willingness of the Michigan GOP to partner with ABC against PLAs, Blacks and women in Michigan’s inner cities can now compete where they have been locked out for decades!
They can also hire unskilled teens in Michigan’s inner cities, getting them off of the streets and working towards becoming skilled and economically independent.”
I say that is a cause to celebrate!