TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Allegheny County Council mulls ban on project labor deals

Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Allegheny County Council is considering a proposal to ban project labor agreements for businesses bidding on county contracts.

Councilman Matt Drozd, R-Ross, introduced the plan at Tuesday's council meeting, saying PLAs discriminate against nonunion businesses and drive up costs to taxpayers.

“I'm not anti-union, but let's level the playing field,” he said. “It costs the taxpayers more than they should pay for projects.”

Such union agreements guarantee healthy wages and benefits, usually in exchange for assurances that workers won't go on strike if there's a labor dispute. Critics say the deals provide a means for politicians to repay unions for political campaign support.

Council President Charles Martoni referred the plan to a committee for discussion.

Tension over the use of project labor agreements in county projects is not new. The Associated Builders of Western Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit in 2010 seeking to halt bidding on construction of Community College of Allegheny County's $21.5 million K. Leroy Irvis Science Center, claiming the inclusion of a PLA required the use of mostly union labor. An Allegheny County judge rejected the claims in 2011.

Frank Sirianni, president of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, disputed that PLAs drive up costs or limit competition.

“It requires qualified contractors. The beauty of a PLA is that it outlines the general construction process, sets hours, standards. It's a tool to be used,” Sirianni said. “It also sets benchmarks and guarantees local workers. PLAs are open to all contractors.”

Eileen Watt, president of the Associated Builders of Western Pennsylvania, said she supported Drozd's move and that PLAs cut out competition.

“Nonunion contractors are taxpayers as well. They should not be eliminated from the bidding process,” she said.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation
  2. Oakland eatery Fuel & Fuddle to reopen under new owners
  3. 2 sentenced for avoiding arrest after Steelers player was stabbed
  4. Victim identified in Pleasant Hills apartment fire
  5. Newsmaker: Brian Stein
  6. 30 cited for blocking street at union rally at UPMC facility
  7. Feds admit cooperation remains obstacle with corporations, cyber threats
  8. Duquesne teen to stand trial on charges he shot, killed unborn child
  9. Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
  10. Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Bucar upset with DA Zappala for alert
  11. Corbett christens $960K bus shelter, bicycle station in Robinson
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.