Action Network

Join the LiUNA! Action network to get involved - it's your union! Learn more by signing up with LiUNA!

The Ban On PLAs: A Bad Soap Opera

Fight for Florida - The Ban On PLAs: A Bad Soap Opera

By Ann Vanek-Dasovich – March 13, 2015

It reads like a bad soap opera. A local municipality is seduced by an out-of-town construction firm for a big public works project because they are the “low bidder”. (Roll Barry White soundtrack) The relationship starts off steamy but quickly erodes. The “low bidder” says all the right things and makes all the right promises. The municipality jumps into bed without a pre-nup only to later regret their decision when they find out that their out-of-town beau is committed to out-of-town labor too. Promises broken, relationship on the rocks. If only they had had a PLA.

It sounds like melodrama but without the protection of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), Florida’s construction companies and workers are often left out of work and off the job. Not only is this bad for our workers and contractors but also for local communities who see their tax dollars leave to support companies and workers outside their communities. The “low bid” often turns into big “cost over-runs” and local taxpayers are left holding the bag.

PLAs (also called Community Workforce Agreements) benefit workers, contractors, project owners, and especially taxpayers. PLA’s are used on publically funded construction projects to level the playing field and ensure that labor standards are consistent between all of the contractors on the job. These VOLUNTARILY agreements save taxpayers money and help big projects come in on time and under budget and greatly increase the overall quality of the work done.

Now, for the 12th year in a row, the Florida Legislature is again taking aim at PLAs. Lobbyists for big corporate contractors are pushing legislation that will BAN PLAs – even when Local Governments WANT to use them!

HB 527 and SB 934 are being fast-tracked by leadership. Why would the Legislature continue to try and quash these beneficial, voluntary agreements at the expense of taxpayers? Why are they so bent on mandating what tools local governments can and cannot use to protect their communities? Clearly they have been seduced by the promises of lobbyist for big construction firms that are more concerned with bottom-lines than the communities they work in.

It’s not too late to stop this madness. Call your state senator and representative and let them know that banning PLA’s is over-reach and that your local government is more qualified to determine if a PLA is right for your community than love-struck Tallahassee politicians.

For more information about the benefits of Project Labor Agreements, please see http://www.plaswork.org/ .