Braintree Saved $1 Million by Losing Court Battle Over PLA

The taxpayers saved more than $1 million in construction costs as a result of the lawsuit brought by MCA and industry allies against the Town of Braintree to remove the project labor agreement on the South Middle School Project.


When a judge ordered Braintree in September to redo the filed sub bids without a PLA, it offered a rare look at bids on the same work with and without a PLA. Without a project labor agreement, the number of bidders increased and the total of the filed sub bids decreased when the second round was held in November.

Key Observations

  • With the PLA, the low bids in 14 filed sub bid categories totaled $25.8 million, and two months later, without a PLA, the low bids totaled $24.7 million.

  • With a PLA, Braintree received 40 sub bids and no bid on electrical work. Without the PLA, Braintree received 62 bids, including three for electrical.

  • In nine of the 14 trades, the bid prices dropped after the PLA was removed.

  • The number of bids for painting jumped from one with a PLA to seven without a PLA. The winning bid was $120,470 less than the prior low bid only two months earlier.

  • The low bid for miscellaneous and ornamental iron dropped by $554,000 as competition grew from two to five bidders.

  • Five union contractors, when faced with competition from merit shops, submitted lower bids in November than they had in September for the same work. The most striking example is the union HVAC firm that submitted a second bid that was $793,000 lower than its first.


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