Mt. Kisco Should Reject Project Labor Agreement for Firehouse Project

From The Examiner News

The critical project to build renovations and additions to the Green Street Firehouse will provide hundreds of construction jobs to the region.

That’s the good news.

The bad news? The Village of Mount Kisco Board of Trustees is making this taxpayer-funded project significantly more expensive by mandating a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

A PLA is a requirement that contractors hire workers through union halls and follow old-fashioned construction work rules negotiated between government bureaucrats and union bosses. PLAs discriminate against local taxpaying construction workers and increase the total cost of construction. By signing onto a PLA, the Village of Mount Kisco’s Board of Trustees are throwing away your hard-earned tax dollars.

There are a number of reasons why PLAs waste money. A typical PLA forces a contractor to hire 3 out of every 4 workers from the union hall. Imagine if you owned a company and were told that in order to get a job, you would have to tell 3 out of every 4 of your employees that they couldn’t work on it. Not only would you not do it because of your loyalty to your employees, you also wouldn’t do it because you have no experience working with these new employees that you’ve been forced to employ.

There is an additional underlying reason that PLA’s cost more: jurisdictional work rules. Unions collectively bargain work rules with contractors. So, masons can only do mason work. Carpenters can only do carpentry. Electricians can only do electrical work.  The result is a very slow progressing construction job which leads to cost overruns and more money out of your pockets.

If you have a worker that can do masonry, carpentry and drywall, and do them really well, why shouldn’t you be able to use those skills across the project? It only makes sense that you would.  But under a PLA, that worker can only employ one of those three skills.

As a result, the diminished competition ensures that PLA projects cost up to 30% more than necessary. This is why the Kingston School District decided against attaching a Project Labor Agreement to their $137.5 million-dollar renovation plan, adhering to a study that concluded there was a, “likelihood of higher bids to cover the benefits for union workers, legal administrative costs and other fees.”

Taxpayers deserve to have their hard-earned tax-dollars spent wisely and efficiently. The best way to avoid waste is to simply release the project documents and allow everyone to bid, letting the best contractor, union or non-union, win.

Tanner Schmidt

Government Affairs

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2019-02-11T13:36:57-04:00