Union agreements dictating wages on public projects could become a thing of the past. A legislative study committee examined eliminating project labor agreements at its hearing Wednesday.
Project labor agreements involve construction wages and union agreements on public projects. In the 2011 legislative session, the General Assembly passed a bill restricting PLAs for projects below a certain cost level. Now, the legislature is weighing whether to prohibit PLAs entirely from public projects. Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Director Pete Rimsans says it’s not the General Assembly’s place to act on this issue.
“Well, we think it’s best left to the mayors and the governors, anybody that’s negotiating a project labor agreement,” he said. “It’s up for them to get with their bean counters and determine the best cost for the taxpayer and let them work out the details, what they need for each project.”
But Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana President J-R Gaylor says P-L-As unfairly limit non-union contractors’ ability to bid for jobs.
“Does local control give a license to discriminate against groups of people based on their membership?” he said. “The state should always have an overriding interest in prohibiting discrimination, whatever form it comes in.”
The study committee will continue to examine the issue leading up to next year’s legislative session.