Forced Unionism Stopped in New Hampshire — for Now

In New Hampshire, the Obama Administration attempted to force a union-only construction contract requirement, known as a Project Labor Agreement (PLA), on a federal construction project.  The PLA would have forced workers to pay into union pensions, as well as forced non-union workers to have their wages docked to pay for Big Labor overhead and other so-called expenses. 

According to the Union Leader newspaper, this PLA would have required mostly out-of-state contractors to run the federal project:

The Labor Department’s decision came a day short of one month after North Branch Construction of Concord filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office. North Branch decried the Labor Department’s requirement for a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that the contractor contends mandates following union rules and paying into union benefit funds as a condition for bidding on the project.  The Associated Builders and Contractors is supporting North Branch in its legal battle.

“This is a real win for the principle of fair and open competition in government procurement,” said North Branch attorney Maurice Baskin of Venable LLC. “It is no coincidence that the Department of Labor canceled its unlawful PLA mandate the day before the agency was required to file a response to our bid protest. We demonstrated that there was no justification for imposing a PLA on this project and that the PLA mandate violated the Competition in Contracting Act and other long-standing federal procurement requirements.”

North Branch filed the protest contending that most contractors in the state are non-union and the PLA would prevent them from working on the project.

“We are not anti-union,” Ken Holmes, president of North Branch Construction in Concord, said in a statement at the time the protest was filed. “We work with union and non-union contractors, but the preponderance of contractors in New Hampshire are non-union. This knocks all of them out of the ball game.”

“If the PLA remains, virtually every contractor working on the project will be out of state and they’ll be union.”

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented, “. . . around the country, construction union bosses and their pro-forced unionism politicians frequently try to justify union-only PLA’s by claiming they ensure local construction workers will get jobs on the project.

“Not only is this not true — it’s the opposite of the truth.

“Since, in every part of the country, independent construction workers greatly outnumber unionized construction workers, union-only PLA’s make it far more likely that contractors will have to bring in forced union dues-paying workers from out of the region to complete the project.

“And study after study has shown that PLA’s on public works jack up taxpayer costs by at least 15-20%, and often even more, due to union-boss featherbedding and cost overruns.”