Anti-worker Kansas legislators have renewed the affront to unions that they established last year with the introduction of HB 2515, a bill that aims to ban Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).
Whereas last year’s Kansan War on Workers focused on a Paycheck Deception bill that aimed to strip unions of their involvement in the political process, HB2515 squares off with private sector construction unions under the auspices of a misleading title, The Competitive Bid Protection Act.
We have listed time and again on this site the benefits of PLAs. They include: wage, safety and benefit standards as well as minority, female and veteran hiring requirements, to name a few. When anti-union extremists use the term “competitive” they intend to suggest that PLAs cut non-union contractors out of the bidding process. But, per usual, this is misleading and has been proven false not only in theory but in practice. What is truly “competitive” about PLAs are the workers’ wages and benefits they ensure.
Kansas Working Alliance explains some of the drawbacks of the proposed legislation:
–It creates bigger government by putting the State government in the middle of contracting. Local and State entities should be able to negotiate the best terms for everyone involved without the State interfering in the negotiations.
–This will only make it easier for contractors outside of Kansas to come in and take way jobs from working Kansans. Workers make up the citizens in our community and those workers should have the right to receive better wages and terms on the projects in their community.
Kansas is already a “Right-to-Work” state that ranks in the top 10 in uninsured residents. Banning PLAs is certain to exacerbate this situation as workers will be left without necessary protections such as health benefits.
Further, according to the Structural Building Components Association (SBCA), HB 2515 contains language that DENIES Kansas the ability to enforce safety standards:
KS SB 573 and HB 2515 does at least one of the following: 1) prohibits state and local jurisdictions from requiring fire sprinklers in new or existing 1- or 2-family dwellings or buildings with up to 4 units; 2) prohibits local governments from adopting residential fire sprinkler mandates without first holding public hearings; or 3) creates an interim study to examine the fire sprinkler mandate in the 2009 building codes.
Not only does this toxic legislation prohibit local officials from taking action on behalf of their constituents’ collective safety, it seeks to retroactively undo safety standards in place for the last three years.
This kind of race-to-the-bottom, anti-worker, anti-safety legislation is prototypical Right-Wing extremism. As the Kansas Working Alliance aptly describes: “These aren’t Kansas values, these aren’t good policy decisions, they are explicitly a war on the middle class and Kansas workers.”
(h/t @TulaConnell for the post)