Allegheny County Council mulls ban on project labor deals
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 email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- State awards six Western Pennsylvania schools mentoring grants
- Unprepared law firms vulnerable to hackers
- Unprepared law firms vulnerable to hackers
- New Pittsburgh police chief gets familiar with surroundings on first day
- Wheel separation incidents can prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- Mt. Lebanon business district, drivers both profit from free, new parking app
- Man shot outside his home in Penn Hills
- Kent State provocation with ‘blood’ sweatshirt denied
- Latest flu vaccines offer protection from 4 influenza strains instead of traditional 3
- Hill District woman killed in crash on Birmingham Bridge
- Pennsylvania death row inmate asks federal judge for stay of execution