In Hawaii, Governor Neil Abercrombie this week issued a directive that Project Labor Agreements will be used on various state funded construction projects. Citing an improving economy where steps must be taken to ensure timely construction, Abercrombie says he hopes PLAs will bring new opportunity to workers on all of Hawaii’s islands:
A Project Labor Agreement provides a mechanism for collaboration on certain projects to prevent potential conflicts among labor unions,” Abercrombie said. “Our local economy has shown signs of improvement, but we cannot afford to lose this momentum by prolonging projects from getting done in a timely manner.”
Building Trades Council President Reginald Castanares, Jr. said, “We’re grateful that the Abercrombie Administration is supportive of the working men and women of Hawaii. The Governor’s Directive speaks volumes to his desire to create jobs and work on necessary projects that will benefit the State.”
Five projects that have already been identified for PLA usage include the University of Hawaii’s Hilo College of Pharmacy ($38 million), the Princess Victoria Kamamalu Building ($32.9 million), the Maui Regional Public Safety Complex ($225 million), Ewa Elementary School ($11 million), and the Honolulu International Airport Mauka Concourse Project ($213 million).
Local hire of Hawaiins was a major factor in the decision to use PLAs:
One well-known project that angered many union workers was the Aloha Stadium renovation in which Mainland workers were used.
“That we’re not going to have a situation where contractors are able to low-ball bids and get advantages in procurement because they’re able to establish false levels of employment,” Gov. Abercrombie said.
Unemployment level also played a role for Abercrombie, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat:
The agreement will “address obstacles that might arise due to a lack of labor coordination” such as worker strikes and “jurisdictional arguments,” as the governor explained.
“We’re going to make sure jobs and money stay in the state,” the governor said, adding that the agreement could help Hawaii achieve the lowest unemployment in the country.