Many in the state legislature are trying to ban Indiana municipalities from being able to use project labor agreements in their cities.
These agreements are a set of requirements that a municipality and contractor agree upon when they partner on a local project, be it a bridge, roundabouts or even an NFL stadium.
Basically, the city can set a training and certification requirement for the workers, as well as an agreed upon minimum pay and benefits package. It’s important to understand that this applies to all workers in the project, both union and non-union workers.
Why do some legislators want them banned?
One claim made by a lobbyist, and parroted by a GOP legislator, is that PLAs are discriminatory against organizations that don’t have trained personnel.
Another reason is the training standards. Currently, there are established industry standards for training and certification. Instead of using these standards, the Statehouse wants to allow the bidder of the project to set their own training and safety standards – and what could go wrong? We’ve just witnessed what can occur when the rail transport industry is deregulated. The implications of that tragedy are far reaching and the limits are unknown.
Banning PLA’s would eliminate local control of projects. The state legislature is telling our locally elected city councilors and mayors that they do not know what’s best for their own cities and their tax dollars.
PLAs ensure our bridges and stadiums are built to the highest safety standards by the most qualified workers. They shouldn’t be banned. In fact, they should be the standard.
Matt McNally, Westfield