Project Labor Agreements banned in Wisconsin

Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)



Governor Scott Walker congratulated Associated Builders & Contractors and other groups for work on Senate Bill 3, the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) Neutrality Bill, as he signed the free enterprise, open competition measure on Monday, April 17, 2017.

“We appreciate the entire team here from Northeast Wisconsin, as well as all the different groups, from Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, from Americans for Prosperity, to all the others here today,” Walker said.

The Truth About PLAs

The Governor also thanked Senator Leah Vukmir and State Representative Rob Hutton, authors of the bill that prohibits governmental entities from entering into taxpayer-funded, union-only project labor agreements. This non-discrimination measure ensures all contractors — and 8 in 10 workers who choose not to belong to organized labor unions — will have a fair shot at performing work paid for by taxpayers.

“This ensures that contracts, going forward, and works being done on infrastructure and all public projects, are being done in a way that provides maximum value — both quality and value — for the taxpayers of this state,” Walker said. “It’s really pro-taxpayer, both statewide and by individual jurisdiction; cities, towns, villages and schools all over the state. It’s about empowering the taxpayers to make sure they get the best deal possible,” he added.

ABC of Wisconsin’s Board chair, Jay Zahn, said the difference happens when people work together. “This is what associations are all about. There were a lot of people involved in getting this done. Clearly, it takes a group and with numbers, you can get things accomplished,” Zahn said.

According to a series of academic studies, PLAs drive up the cost of construction between 12 and 18 percent. PLA’s often limit competition by imposing undue regulations or circumstances that would put merit shop contractors at a disadvantage. For instance, a common provision is only hiring employees from the local union hall, paying into union pension funds when their employees may never receive a union pension benefit, recognizing unions as the representative of their employees on that job and obeying union apprenticeship and other work rules. With stipulations that would require contractors to maintain double the workforce and pay double the retirement benefits, most merit shop contractors decline to submit bids in these situations.


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