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San Diego School Board: “Non-Union Contractors Have Done Very Well” Under the District’s PLA

Of all the inflated gripes that that big contractor lobbies, such as the Associated Building and Contractors (ABC), hurl at Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), the most divisive and erroneous is that PLAs cut non-union contractors and non-union workers out of large-scale, public construction projects. This claim has been refuted time and again by the members of the construction industry who pursue PLAs in the interest of establishing local, minority, female and veteran hiring standards as well as prudent safety and wage enforcement above all else.

On Friday, an article appeared on San Diego’s 10 News website that appears to unequivocally debunk the myth of non-union anti-competitiveness associated with Project Labor Agreements:

An agreement with organized labor about Proposition S construction bond projects has proven beneficial to area tradesmen without costing the San Diego Unified School District additional money, two school board members announced Friday.

The goals of the Project Stabilization Agreement, enacted following the 2008 passage of the $2.1 billion bond measure, were to ensure that construction was completed on time and under budget, with high quality, and using San Diego workers who would enjoy the same protections, benefits and rights as school district employees, Board of Education President Richard Barrera said.

“We’re not only on track, we’re far exceeding the goals we had when we set up the PSA,” Barrera said, citing results from a study conducted by the Rea & Parker Research firm.

He said the cost of individual projects has been lower than what was budgeted and they’ve been finished much faster.

Opponents of the Project Labor Agreement expressed worries before it was enacted that it would drive up costs and shut out non-union shops.

Barrera said a lot of the work has gone to firms without unionized workers. The PSA does not govern every Proposition S project.

“Non-union contractors have done very well,” Barrera said. “They’ve bid on and won contracts.”

Barnett adds that, “There has not been any increase in (construction) costs from before the PSA to after the PSA,” refuting yet another baseless claim frequently made by contractor lobbies.

Read the entire piece HERE.


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