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Construction Unions Win Monster Victory Over Right-Wing Attempts to Stifle Labor in Idaho

Idaho witnessed a monster victory yesterday, not only for the unions whose lawsuit sought to protect contractors interested in Project Labor Agreements, but for the workers hoping their shops will be able to bid more competitively through job-targeting programs.

The state’s construction unions were outraged when anti-union legislators took aim at Project Labor Agreements, the pre-hire construction contracts that aim to set wage, benefit and safety standards as well as minority, female and veteran hiring goals. Their lawsuit, which led to a judge blocking the anti-worker laws in July, yesterday came to fruition. From The Republic:

The laws, intended to weaken the power of labor organizations in the state, were passed during the 2011 legislative session and were set to go into effect last summer.

However, two building and construction unions sued in U.S. District Court, and District Judge B. Lynn Winmill stopped the laws from going into effect while the lawsuit moved forward.

Proponents said the measures were simply expansions of Idaho’s right-to-work law.

The Open Access to Work Act banned project labor agreements that require contractors to forge pacts with unionized workers as a condition of winning a government construction job.

The Fairness in Contracting Act prohibited unions from using dues to subsidize member wages to help union-shop contractors submit more competitive bids and win more projects.

Winmill ditched the laws in a written ruling late last month.

He noted in his ruling that Congress set up the parameters under which construction employers and unions could bargain so they would be influenced only by their own economic power and the free play of economic forces.

Similar attempts by Right-Wing Congressmen to ban Project Labor Agreements on the federal level have failed repeatedly.


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