A Meriden, Connecticut City Council/School Building Committee meeting about the possible use of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for a $250 million renovation project of local high schools drew a whopping 1,500 attendants, many of whom described the meeting as “debate.” According to the Record Journal, 2,200 residents signed petitions calling in favor of a PLA:
The pro-PLA representatives were the first to argue their side, with Jeremy Zeedyke of Sheet Metal Workers Local 40 leading the presentation. Zeedyke said the meeting was taking place because 2,200 residents had signed a petition calling for a PLA on the high school project. The PLA would require that 30 percent of workers on the project be from Meriden.
“Will Meriden utilize its greatest asset: local contractors and local workers?” he asked. “Or will it use a small group of contractors interested in maximizing their profit?”
U.S. Rep. Christopher S. Murphy and state Speaker of the House Christopher G. Donovan also supported the diversity and local hire ensuring PLA. As usual, the anti-worker Associated Builders & Contractors represent the face of the opposition to the measure which would also set wage and safety standards. City Council Majority Leader Brian Daniels, who is in favor of PLAs, had the last word in the meeting after hours of spirited debate. He asked both sides to make local hire a priority in negotiations.
“This is about what is good for the community,” Daniels said. “We are all neighbors. We are all friends.”