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.
Opposition to a blatantly anti-labor bill is beginning to build in Virginia, and State Senators Dave Marsden and Chap Petersen and Delegate David Englin are among those voicing criticism. House Bill No. 2, introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall, would prohibit Virginia from providing funding for Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metro Project if it is subject to a project labor agreement (PLA).
PLAs don't actually require projects to only hire union workers--they are a tool for taxpayer accountability. PLAs require the use of trained workers and safety standards for contractors, and worked great on Phase 1 of the project, as we pointed out previously. State Senator Dave Marsden said in a statement this week,
"What concerns me is that this bill appears to stem from an anti-union mindset that places ideology over public good and job creation. It could lead to experienced workers who performed well on Phase I being excluded from Phase II, and create the need for the expense of training new workers. Just as importantly, the PLA will create local jobs for a largely local workforce... A PLA is not always necessary on public projects, but I would ask my good friend Delegate Marshall, 'what problem are you trying to solve with this legislation?' It seems that continuing the PLA during Phase II is in keeping with good public policy. Let's not remove what has proven to be successful tool from consideration."
(More below the fold.)