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Merit Shops Offer Labor Peace


Fact: Merit shop construction workers do not strike.

Fact: Unions do strike PLA projects.

Despite the agreements between labor unions and project owners, PLAs do not guarantee labor peace. 


  • In July 2015, union workers with the District Council of Carpenters struck at 30 construction sites across New York City in violation of a PLA, reported Real Estate Weekly, July 6, 2015. 


  • According to news reports, in July 2013, the Carpenters union in New York City reneged on a promise not to strike on several PLA projects, including projects at 4 World Trade Center, the General Motors building project and a job at Time Warner.   The union strike halted construction at the World Trade Center's 800,000-square-foot transit hub and stopped work at One World Trade Center.  


  • Crain’s New York Business reported that the World Trade Center strikes also hurt the PLA projects at Madison Square Garden and Extell Development’s Carnegie 57 luxury hotel, as well as a high-rise project across from Carnegie Hall on West 57th Street. 


“Once again, it is my duty to inform you there has been an increase in work stoppages on jobs governed by project labor agreements.” 

- Joseph Hunt,

President of the Ironworkers Union,

in a newsletter to union members.



Fact: PLAs Block Small, Disadvantaged Firms


A PLA mandate will prevent small and disadvantaged construction firms from bidding on the project because the majority of these contractors are not unionized. 


Fact: PLAs fail to guarantee the hiring of minorities, women and local residents


By locking out four out of five construction workers, projects do not have access to the available workers necessary to meet those hiring goals. As seen in the City of New Bedford, Mass., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York and Baltimore, existence of a PLA has nonetheless failed ensure goals were met for hiring local residents, women and minorities on construction projects, despite the false assurances from organized labor. 


“Historically the unions are not as able to guarantee a diverse workforce, either.”

- Project Labor Agreements on Chapter 149a Projects,

Skanska. January 23, 2019

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