South Carolina Bans Project Labor Agreements on Taxpayer-Funded Projects
Originally published: 06.11.13 by HVACR Business Staff
WASHINGTON, DC – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today celebrated a victory after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill (S.438) into law that will prohibit state government entities from requiring contractors to sign a project labor agreement (PLA) or other agreements with labor unions as a condition of performing work on public construction projects.
“This is a victory for taxpayers in South Carolina, along with the majority of construction workers in the state that choose to work for merit shop contractors,” said ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr. “The new law ensures taxpayers will get the best possible construction project at the best possible price by increasing competition, reducing waste and eliminating special interest handouts to labor bosses.”
South Carolina is the 17th state to take action to protect taxpayers and the vast majority of the construction industry workforce from wasteful and discriminatory PLA mandates. Additionally, it’s the 13th state to enact reform since President Obama issued Executive Order 13502 in February 2009, which encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal construction projects costing more than $25 million and allows state and local governments to require PLAs on federally assisted projects.
A PLA is a special interest scheme that discourages competition from qualified contractors and their workers by requiring a construction contract to be awarded only to contractors and subcontractors that agree to recognize unions as the representatives of their employees on that job; use the union hall to obtain workers; obey the union’s restrictive apprenticeship and work rules; and contribute to union pension plans and other funds from which their nonunion employees will never benefit unless they join a union.
PLA and other union-only mandates have been found to increase construction costs by an average of 12 to18 percent—and much more in some cases.