ABC Applauds Pennsylvania’s Open Contracting Legislation

Wed March 12, 2003 - Northeast Edition

The Associated Builders & Contractors Inc., Pennsylvania (ABC PA) applauded the open contracting legislation that is being introduced by Sen. Michael Waugh, R-York.

According to Waugh, “This legislation would put an end to Project Labor Agreements [PLA] … [Public] contracts should be assessed and awarded based on quality of work, experience, and cost — not a company’s labor affiliation with organized labor.” Currently, there is no state law specifically banning the use of PLAs.

“We are pleased that Sen. Waugh has introduced this legislation,” stated David Wenrich, chairman of the Keystone Chapter, ABC. “Open contracting, competitive bidding, is the best way to ensure that construction projects are completed with the best quality and with the interest of the taxpayers’ dollars in mind. PLAs restrict the use of the free enterprise, merit workforce and have historically prohibited the majority of the construction workforce from bidding on projects. With fewer contractors competing for the work, the cost of these projects increase and so does the financial impact to the taxpayers.”

Under a PLA, companies would be required to use union labor for all or part of the work on their projects. Many studies over the years have shown that PLAs cause cost overruns and completion delays. These agreements also shut out 82 percent of the construction workforce that choose not to join a union.

Recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that only 18 percent of the nation’s construction workforce is unionized.

ABC’s belief is that contractors and subcontractors should be selected on every construction project on the basis of their qualifications and price, without regard to their labor relation’s policy.

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