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Oct
2011
13

With $5B of Upcoming Construction Work in CT, There Are Calls for PLAs to Ensure Local Hire



In Connecticut, 30 percent of construction trades workers are currently unemployed, a number that titans over the state’s overall 9.1 percent unemployment rate. There is hope, however, for some of these unemployed workers as Capital Resource Partners recently identified 114 upcoming projects that will total $5.4 billion of work in north central Connecticut.

Still, as Kimberly Glassman recently wrote in an article for the Hartford Courant, the only way to guarantee that these upcoming projects are manned by local workers is to demand that Project Labor Agreements are put in place.

“It is imperative that these projects employ Connecticut’s skilled workforce. We cannot continue to watch billions of taxpayer dollars flow out of state. If a project is being funded by taxpayers, it should employ Connecticut residents. We have thousands of tradesmen who have graduated from accredited apprenticeship programs, who are licensed and eager to contribute to our economy.

One way we can ensure in-state hiring is through project labor agreements, which are project-specified, pre-hire collective bargaining agreements that set out terms and conditions of employment, including wages, benefits, schedules and work rules.

The Associated Builders and Contractors of Connecticut often refer to project labor agreements as “anti-business, anti-taxpayer.” Yet, it is Connecticut taxpayers who invest billions of dollars into public construction projects to rebuild and improve our infrastructure each year.

As the director of the Foundation for Fair Contracting of Connecticut, I monitor construction projects that fall under our prevailing wage requirement to ensure that construction companies are in compliance with state labor laws.

More often than not, I find that out-of-state firms underbid projects by at least 20 percent by assembling a low-wage, low-skill workforce that includes undocumented and illegal workers. Others are increasingly misclassifying their employees as “independent contractors” — a practice that hurts employees who are denied the protections of various employment and labor laws; hurts legitimate businesses (which must compete at a disadvantage); and hurts our state and local governments (which do not receive proper taxes from all employers). Project labor agreements prevent these types of abuses.

We have a skilled workforce here at home that we should be putting to work. Are our middle class workers not entitled to a standard of living?

Read the full article HERE.

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One Comment on “With $5B of Upcoming Construction Work in CT, There Are Calls for PLAs to Ensure Local Hire”

  1. Since Connecticut is one of the seven states that require workers on publically-funded construction sites to complete the OSHA 10 hour construction training course before working at the site, using local workers, who presumably have already taken this course, would benefit us all as well. A safer job is a more economical job.

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