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Why Pay to PLA?

Project labor agreements exist to eliminate competition faced by organized labor.  They offer no actual benefits for a construction project. 


Instead, PLAs damage construction projects by:

  • Reducing the number of qualified contractors bidding on a project.

  • Increasing project costs is the result of less competition.

  • Making it harder to reach goals for diversity hiring by locking out 4/5s of the construction workforce that is merit shop, especially minority- & women-owned construction firms who are mostly nonunion.

  • Violating competitive bidding laws that govern public construction.

  • Failing to deliver the litany of alleged benefits professed by organized labor.


How PLAs work

PLAs contractually require use of only union labor by the project contractors. If a merit shop were to bid and win the work, it would be required to bench its employees & use temporary union workers. As responsible employers, merit shops refuse to do this to their employees. 


This guarantees union contractors win the bids without offering the best possible price & secures a monopoly for organized labor, which represents only a fraction of the construction workforce.

PLAs Increase Costs

PLAs reduce the number of qualified bidders. Their purpose is to stop merit shops from bidding & create a monopoly for union contractors.

Less competition increases prices.

What happens when you remove the PLA? More contractors bid & the increased competition results in lower prices, as shown by projects in Braintree, Mass., Manchester, N.H., & Fall River, Mass. 

Braintree PLA Town Hall.jpg

Union-Only Policies Lock Out
4/5s of the Construction Workforce

PLAs state the project's workforce must be referred by the local union hiring hall.

A merit shop would be required to use union labor and not it's own employees. What company would sideline its workforce and hire temps?

Four out of five construction workers in Mass. work for merit shops.


The anti-competitive measures place merit shops at a disadvantage, and on public construction, have been ruled as contradicting the state's bidding laws.

This disadvantages imposed on merit shop contractors by the use of a PLA effectively render them unable to compete for work on the project, to paraphrase the superior court judge's ruling that struck down use of a PLA by the Town of Braintree, Mass.

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