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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 3, 2020 03:18 PM
From: Senator Scott Martin
To: All Senate members
Subject: Prohibiting Discriminatory Project Labor Agreements
Soon I will be reintroducing legislation prohibiting discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs). This bill is formerly Senate Bill 104 of the 2019-20 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.  Approximately two dozen other states restrict the use of government-mandated PLAs and I believe it is long overdue for the Commonwealth to join their ranks.

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 bill 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.

Previous cosponsors include Senators Gordner, Yaw, DiSanto, Phillips-Hill, Stefano, Aument, and Regan.

Please consider co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB57