Crossposted at ProgressVA.
Conservative lawmakers in Virginia’s House and Senate are so eager to attack working Virginians, they’re throwing smart business protections for taxpayer dollars out the window–and they’re doing it with the help of the national, pro-corporate greed group ALEC. Legislation that has been approved by House and Senate committees seeks to prohibit Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), which are actually extremely beneficial to Virginia. Project labor agreements are a market-based tool that sets rules and expectations for management and workers and as a result, projects with PLAs come in on-time and on-budget.
“We’re disappointed members of the General Assembly have disregarded an important tool to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely on construction projects,” said Doris Crouse-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO. “Project Labor Agreements serve as a taxpayer protection and create accountability on megaprojects where millions of dollars are at stake. PLAs prevent companies from making money off of mistakes and delays and thus help avoid megaproject disasters.”
PLAs neither require a unionized workforce nor do they require any worker to join a union. PLAs are good for local economies because they guarantee local workers are chosen for local projects, keeping construction dollars in our communities. They also set standards for training and safety protections, ensuring a skilled workforce that is less prone to accident and injury.
“Virginia’s experiences with project labor agreements illustrate the facts,” said Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA. “Phase 1 of the Dulles Rail project has utilized a Project Labor Agreement. The project is on time, under budget, and boasts the best safety record of any project in the Commonwealth. The Springfield 95 Interchange was done without the benefit of a PLA. The project experienced significant delays and costs overruns. Five workers were killed on the project.”