West Virginia Becomes 22nd State to Prohibit PLA Mandates
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed the Establishing Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act (SB 409), a bill prohibiting government entities from requiring contractors to enter into wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of performing work on publicly funded construction projects. A PLA is a job-specific union collective bargaining agreement, which effectively steers construction contracts to unionized firms and their all-union workforces. When mandated on publicly funded construction projects, PLAs make it nearly impossible for the vast majority of the construction workforce that chooses to join a union to compete fairly for projects funded by their own tax dollars. In the Mountain State, more than 80 percent of the private construction workforce chooses not to join a labor organization.
“By prohibiting these costly and unnecessary mandates on publicly funded construction projects, this bipartisan legislation will ensure that every qualified bidder in the state of West Virginia and their skilled craft professionals are given a fair chance to participate in the public procurement process,” said ABCWV President Bryan Hoylman. “Studies show PLAs drive up the cost of public construction projects between 12 to 18 percent and the leadership shown by bill sponsors Sen. Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael and Del. Geoff Foster will increase competition and provide better value to taxpayers by allowing all qualified West Virginia contractors to compete effectively for work on taxpayer-funded projects.”
“Gov. Tomblin’s leadership in becoming the first Democratic governor to sign legislation outlawing PLA mandates on public construction projects, and the bipartisan manner in which this legislation passed are clear indicators of the growing momentum against these special interest handouts,” said ABC Director of State and Local Affairs Andy Conlin. “PLA mandates are bad for taxpayers and for the vast majority of construction workers who choose not to join a labor union and actions such as those taken by the governor and legislature demonstrate the growing bipartisan consensus that PLA mandates are bad public policy.”
West Virginia is the 22nd state to prohibit the use of PLA mandates on public construction projects and the 18thstate to ban them since President Barack Obama issued an executive order in 2009 encouraging the use of PLAs on public construction projects. The bill passed the West Virginia Senate 21-12 on Feb. 27 and the West Virginia House of Delegates 62-36 on March 12.