Construction Issue: Project Labor Agreement

What is a Project Labor Agreement (PLA)?

A PLA is a pre-hire, collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.

PLAs allow the employer and unions to negotiate on terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, sick and vacation leave and safety policies. Employers and contractors are able to resolve any employment issues before the job even begins, which ensures limited to no job disputes and reduces employee turnover by promoting open communication and job security.

Government and private businesses have utilized PLAs to build everything from industrial and manufacturing facilities to hospitals, stadiums and high rises to highways, city halls and safety centers. These agreements benefit working men and women, contractors, project owners, communities and taxpayers by ensuring projects are completed on time and on or under-budget. PLAs also require employee safety training, which also benefits the community by ensuring those working on the jobsite come home safely.

Independent academic research has shown that PLAs are good for both public and private-sector construction projects, particularly larger projects, and the validity of PLAs has consistently been upheld in both federal and state courts. Also, PLAs do not have a negative effect on the overall cost of construction projects, but they positively influence project timeliness, quality, safety, training, minority employment, employee benefits and labor peace. Sometimes, PLAs are called Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) that work to accomplish the same positive outcomes.

PLAs are traditionally organized by the local Building Trades Councils, and at Local 94, we are part of the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, as well as the East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council.

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