Philadelphia, Trade Unions Reach Agreement On Hiring Goals

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Surrounded by members of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter today signed at executive order that will once again make project labor agreements (“PLAs”) a part of the bidding process for public works projects of $5 million or more.

Both city and organized labor officials believe this is a win-win for everyone.

Mayor Nutter says PLAs are a contract between the city and the trades that establishes benchmarks for the hiring of city residents and minorities.

“This new PLA policy will aim to ensure stability, equality, and diversity,” the mayor said.  “The workers will have all the details so they know what is required of them, and the city will know that there will be no strikes.  Our work will be done on time and on budget by some of the most skilled tradespeople in the United States, right here in Philadelphia.”

Pat Eiding, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the AFL-CIO, says the concept is important.

“In years past they would put people on the job just to satisfy numbers.  This is not about numbers.  If people can get into the trades they have a career for the rest of their life and they have a place to work, because the City of Philadelphia feels that the organized labors are the best qualified to do the work.”

An independent third party, as yet to be determined, will monitor the diversity and residency goals.

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio 1060

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One Comment

  1. ABC Eastern Pa. Chapter says:

    ABC Eastern Pa. Chapter Objects to Philadelphia PLA Ordinance

    EAST NORRITON, PA (November 30, 2011) – Associated Builders and Contractors Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter, Inc. (ABC), opposes the executive order issued yesterday by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter re-establishing the use of anti-competitive and costly union-favoring government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on city projects in excess of $5 million. ABC objects to the use of government-mandated PLAs on any taxpayer-funded construction project.

    “Mayor Nutter’s executive order is discriminatory and costly. Government-mandated PLAs effectively preclude a majority of qualified contractors and their local employees from building construction projects funded by their tax dollars,” said Jeff Zeh, president and CEO of ABC. “PLAs are only promoted by construction trade unions and their allies in an effort to end open, fair and competitive bidding, thereby providing unions with a workforce monopoly on construction projects.

    “This is nothing more than play to pay politics at its best in Philadelphia,” Zeh said. “The public should hold the Mayor and new Advisory Committee on PLAs accountable for any PLA mandates as these schemes will undoubtedly restrict competition, increase costs and unfairly cater to narrow special interests.”

    According to Bureau off Labor Statistics data, 80 percent of construction employees in Pennsylvania elect not to join a union while only 20 percent belong to a union. PLAs are pre-hire contracts that require projects be awarded only to contractors and subcontractors that agree to the following conditions, which effective limits the pool of qualified bidders to only union contractors:

    Recognize unions as the representatives of their employees on a project.
    Use the union hiring hall exclusively to obtain workers.
    Obtain apprentices exclusively from union apprenticeship programs.
    Force merit shop employers to pay into underfunded union benefit plans without the opportunity for their employees to receive benefits from these plans unless they join a union and become vested.
    Follow costly, restrictive and inefficient union work rules.
    Force workers to pay union dues and fees.
    The bottom line is that government-mandated PLAs reduce competition, are costly and prevent taxpayers from getting the best possible product at the best possible price, while discriminating against the majority of qualified area contractors and their skilled construction employees. Learn more about PLAs at

    ABC Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter represents more than 15,000 Merit construction employees who work for more than 500 member companies. ABC was founded on the belief that construction projects should be awarded on merit to the most qualified and lowest responsible bidder. Nationally, Associated Builders and Contractors is comprised of 75 chapters representing more than 23,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms with nearly two million employees. Learn more about ABC Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter at


  2. Teddy B says:

    Project labor agreements (PLAs) are nothing more than a legal scheme to ensure that political supporters get lucrative construction contracts funded by taxpayer dollars. Nutter is just paying back his union puppet masters. PLAs require that most or all of the labor building the project come from union hiring halls, that workers pay dues to unions (which a portion is then sent back to politicians that start this cycle all over again), and that contractors obey the inefficient and costly union work rules so they can drag projects out (suck off the government teat) and stick it to taxpayers. All of this talk that PLAs will ensure jobs for minorities, women and local workers is simply lipstick on the PLA pig.

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