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Union Bullies School After Losing Competitive Bidding


Here’s another difference between merit shops and unions:


If a merit shop loses a competitive bid, it won’t send employees to protest. And if the customer is a school, it won’t hold a sign questioning the safety of the students.


Yet, that’s apparently what a union did last week. The bullies were on the picket line, not on the playground.

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A member of the Milton Neighbors Facebook group asked about an early morning protest she’d seen with a sign that read, “Are your children safe at Milton Academy” (sic).


To which another group member replied: “I believe Milton Academy hired a nonunion outfit for one of their construction projects. My guess is that the guys with the signs are union members implying the kids are not safe if the work is done by nonunion shop? Just a guess.”


In an email to the Milton Academy community, the school did what good educators do. They stood up to the bullies, confronted them with the truth, and refused to back down. The school confirmed the Facebook post that a union was unhappy with its choice for an HVAC contractor – work that would be covered by the Sheet Metal Workers Local 17.


This is the type of absurd and irresponsible behavior that is sadly the new normal for organized labor. Unwilling to compete on a level playing field, labor bosses often resort to smear campaigns against merit shops and their clients. Suggesting school children are somehow unsafe is lower than low.


In its email, Milton Academy makes important observations, including:

  • The union HVAC contractor’s bid was 50% higher than the winning bid.

  • Five union and five merit shop firms were invited to bid. One union firm bid while four merit shop contractors bid.

  • Milton Academy considers cost and quality. As a not-for-profit, it has a fiduciary duty.


Below is the text of the email as obtained by MCA.


"Milton has a history of contracting with companies to serve as construction managers with inclusive bidding processes who use both union and non-union workers as part of major construction projects. After a thorough analysis, Milton chose SKANSKA, as its construction manager for its latest master plan projects. Our review of SKANSKA’s efforts to date confirms that they have followed a bidding process that fully meets our expectations, inviting union and non-union contractors to bid on all elements of its current renovation project. There are both union and non-union contractors representing the trades on this project. As always, a critical component of the bid evaluation process was to ensure that contractors would be able to meet the project’s needs from both a cost and quality perspective. It is important to note that as a not-for-profit, Milton has a fiduciary duty to adhere to its budgets once the quality of a contractor is assured.


Recently, SKANSKA informed us that a local union was unhappy with the selection of the HVAC services contractor for this project. As a result, the school reviewed the process again. Our assessment is that SKANSKA conducted a very thorough bidding process for HVAC that included invitations to five union and five non-union contractors. SKANSKA received only one union bid, which was significantly (50%) higher than the winning bid received, making it cost-prohibitive. Before accepting the winning bid, our understanding is that SKANSKA asked the union contractor if it would be possible to reduce their bid price to make it more competitive. No response was received.


Milton Academy is confident that the decisions made as part of the project bidding process were appropriate and fair from a process perspective - both to union and non-union contractors - and that Milton has fulfilled its own fiduciary responsibility to secure quality work at fair cost."


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