Don’t Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
Feb
2012
7

YEAH WRONG: NH Tea Partier Sends Letter to Obama Asking Him to Rescind EO on PLAs



New Hampshire Tea Party Senator Kelly Ayotte has spoken out (again) in opposition to Project Labor Agreements, this time in regards to a proposed Job Corps Center in her home state:

In a letter to Obama released Monday, Ayotte asked the President to reverse his executive order requiring federal projects over $25 million to consider using project labor agreements, or PLAs. In his State of the Union address, Obama said he wanted to cut government red tape. These agreements would be a good place to start, the Republican senator said.

Clearly PLAs are not what Obama had in mind when he mentioned cutting red tape. The pro-safety, pro-wage, pro-diversity agreements scored resounding, bipartisan victories in Congress last year and have recently been implemented and considered on project being built by the U.S. armed forces.

Still, Ayotte’s ideological blinders prohibit her from understanding what is best for workers, wages and communities. In the Union-Leader article cited above, a representative from the traditionally anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors admits that the proposed wages in the Jobs Corps PLA are not a problem:

Mark Holden, president of the New Hampshire and Vermont Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, said the required wages and benefits listed in the PLA are standard to all federal contracts, which New Hampshire companies have won in the past and are familiar with.

While Ayotte claims the PLA has held up the bidding process, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark McKenzie begs to differ:

Mark MacKenzie, president of New Hampshire AFL-CIO, argued that PLAs ensure that all companies submitting bids are following the same rules and prevent companies from undercutting competitors by slicing into employee wages.

“The federal government said these are the wages we will pay for this project,” said MacKenzie. “Everybody is competing on the same level playing field. The problem is small companies will say we don’t want to pay people what is the prevailing wage because we’re afraid after the project is done, the employees will say we’re worth more than you’re paying us.”

By asking Obama to remove the PLA during the bidding process, Ayotte could be putting the project at further risk, MacKenzie said. Because the bid request includes a PLA, removing it could require putting out new bid specifications, he said.

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