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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 28, 2017 12:33 PM
From: Senator Scott Martin
To: All Senate members
Subject: Prohibiting Discriminatory Project Labor Agreements
In the near future, I will be introducing companion legislation prohibiting discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs). This bill is formerly House Bill 2096 of the 2013-14 legislative session.

I firmly believe that government at all levels should work tirelessly to use taxpayer resources efficiently and responsibly. That is why as County Commissioner of Lancaster County, we banned the use of PLAs on all county construction projects. Lancaster was the first government entity east of the Mississippi River and 13th in the nation to ban PLAs and there is a reason that many state and local governments have followed a similar path. As of May 2017, 23 states restrict the use of government-mandated PLAs and I believe it is time the Commonwealth become the 24th state to see the benefits of this.

PLAs have a long history of intentionally limiting bidders and driving up project costs often by requiring the utilization of union labor. This also discriminates against merit shop contractors and other businesses. Since over 80 percent of our construction industry workers belong to nonunion shops, preventing their access to public projects discourages local job creation. In construction markets where the demand for union labor is greater than the local supply, union workers from outside the local area are given preference over qualified local nonunion workers on PLA projects.

This standalone legislation will be known as the “Open Contracting Act” and will serve to encourage open competition among potential contractors and bars the use of project labor agreements for taxpayer-funded construction projects. Additionally, the legislation makes it unlawful for a public body to consider the union/nonunion status of an employer's workforce in its selection criterion for awarding a public project.

I hope you will consider joining me in support of this legislation.

Introduced as SB881