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Mar
2014
17

AKA PLA: Businessman’s Op-Ed Touts Policies Long Supported by Construction Unions

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A Northwest Times op-ed from businessman and former government administrator John Key calls for local governments to create laws that ensure women, minorities, and inner city workers are represented on work sites for projects that are funded with public dollars.  Sound familiar? These are the exact types of community-bolstering provisions mandated by Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), the contracts frequently sought by construction unions for public works projects.

Key calls for labor leaders, unions, and politicians to adopt these laws in order to grow the construction trades in urban areas and ensure taxpayer dollars make their way back to the wallets of local taxpayers.  

His proposed standards would include the following:

Construction employment plans can be used by local jurisdictions to ensure all public projects meet certain standards on a craft-by-craft basis. Typically, such standards might include components like these:

• At least 50 percent of the total employee worker hours in each trade must be by bona fide community residents.
• At least 25 percent of the total employee worker hours in each trade must be by minorities.
• At least 10 percent of the total employee worker hours in each trade must be by women.
• Moreover, the term employee” should apprentices and other on-the-job training positions.

In addition, on each project covered by a local government’s policy, contractors should be required to designate individuals to serve as compliance officers.

Also, each general contractor should be required to mandate each sub-contractor establish at least one qualified person to ensure policy compliance.

These types of construction employment plans, which have been very effective under PLAs, would go far in fixing the problem of out-of-town or, more frequently, out-of-state workers taking inner city projects by storm while inner city unemploymemnt remains high.  Key calls this scenario, “unwise, unjust and unsustainable.”  He also proposes that contractors be informed of these standards before construction can begin:

Furthermore, prior to the start of large public funded construction projects, each general contractor and each subcontractor selected should be required to meet with appropriate representatives of the construction trade unions, local government and awarding agency to calculate the estimated employment requirements for each construction activity.

Read more about the positive impact of the policies Key is touting in the We Party Patriots archives.

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