October 12, 2015

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo,

I am writing to urge your administration to study the effects of Project Labor Agreements (PLA) on public construction projects across New York State. Our request is driven by the State recently amending its request for proposals (RFP)for the redevelopment of the state fairgrounds and is now considering a requirement for all bidders to agree to a PLA. That's in addition to rumors of a PLAfor-the recently announced STAMP project in Genesee County.

As you may be aware, PLAsare often implemented after a study identifies "projected” savings based on labor agreements. Unfortunately, multiple studies suggest PLAs actually cause a significant increase in the cost of public construction projects and that the savings are never realized.

• A 2010 report by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development found that PLAs increased the cost of school construction in that state by 30.5%, and also caused school construction to take around 22 weeks longer to complete.

• A 2010 report by the National University System Institute for Policy Research found that PLAs increased the cost of school construction in California by 13 to 15%.

• A 2006 report by the Beacon Hill Institute found that PLAs increased the cost of school construction in New York State by nearly 20%, and suggested that not using PLAs would have saved the state between $2.7 million and $8.1 million per school, depending on the size of the project.

• A recent study for the Kingston School District found that the implication of a PLA would reduce competition resulting in an increase of up to 9.74%. reports are compelling - but there has yet to be a report that comprehensively studies the cost impact of PLAs and whether or not the projected savings were ever realized. When you consider the broad array of public construction projects where PLAs have been applied, including developments such as affordable housing for low- and middle-income families, we must know if "projected" savings are truly realized or simply a myth. The truth needs to be found once and for all.

Your administration has so often made New Yorkers proud because you are willing to lead the nation on key policy issues, leaving other states to follow. I believe the issue of PLAs presents a prime opportunity for your administration to once again lead the nation.

I therefore ask you to commission a comprehensive study of the effect of PLAs on all public construction projects throughout New York State over the past five years. Such a study would most clearly show the cost effects of PLAs on construction that is funded by New York State taxpayers.

Thank you for considering this request, and I look forward to discussing this matter further with you and your administration.

Brian Sampson
President, Empire Chapter, Associated Builders & Contractors