After hiatus, the PLA may be back ...

The Project Labor Agreement has been out of favor for a while on the federal and state level. Sure, there are a few here and there in heavily union areas, but this year saw even progressive voices express displeasure with the union-only schemes.


"PLAs aren’t in the best interest of taxpayers — and it’s time to pull the plug on them," wrote Kevin Barry, director of the construction division of the United Service Workers Union in Queens, in a New York Post opinion column earlier this year.


Which is why we've seen a shift to "community benefits agreements" where a whole lot of demands on developers are made and tucked in with them is PLA language. They are a trojan horse for PLAs.


The incoming Biden administration is almost certainly going to push for PLAs on clean energy project and federal construction - vertical and horizontal. The president-elect has said as much.


"Throughout the campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden touted his long-standing support of union issues. In a September letter to the Laborers union, he vowed that his administration would 'prioritize project labor and community workforce agreements,'" reported Engineering News Record earlier this week.


Biden's embrace of PLAs, which lock out merit shops and their employees - who are the vast majority of the construction industry - runs counter to his pledge to an president for all Americans.


"Give everyone in this country a fair shot. That's all they want is a fair shot," Biden said while addressing supporters in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 7th.


PLAs are the opposite of a fair shot. Unfortunately, the irony seems lost on the president-elect.


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