Project Labor Agreements ensure skilled UA Local 529 labor on construction projects

A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is a legal agreement between labor unions and contractors or a project owner, which outlines the terms of employment for a particular project. While often used on union-only projects, PLAs can also be used when union and non-union labor work on the same project. A PLA can used in either the private or public sector. 

There are multiple variations of PLAs, such as Community Benefits Agreements and Community Workforce Agreements. As their names suggest, these agreements contain specific conditions to benefit members of a certain community. 

The benfits of using a PLA

PLAs are used on both private and publicly funded projects construction projects.

They are an excellent tool to ensure the project is completed safely, on time, on or under budget and with the highest quality of work performed.

The terms of PLAs will include provisions that bind all parties to the agreement; no-strike, no-lockout clauses;  grievance/arbitration procedures and standardize things such as start time, break time, holidays, overtime, etc. They also can require a certain level of training – including safety training be achieved and maintained by all workers on the jobsite.

While normally used on all-union projects, they can be used in instances where both union and non-union work together on a jobsite.

When it comes to pubilc projects, PLAs serve to protect the investment of taxpayers.

PLAs ensure tax dollars stay in the community when local labor is used on a project

PLAs can also stipulate who works on a project. Within the terms of the agreement may be lanuage that ensures tradesmen, tradeswomen, apprentices or pre-apprentices who live within a specific community have the opportunity to work on the project and keep tax dollars within the community. These employment requirements can mandate a percentage of the construction workforce be hired who are minorities, women, veterans, formerly incarcerated, residents of a certain community and or any other stipulation. Additionally, a PLA may require a certain percentage of work to go to a small business, minority-owned or female-owned contractor.

These stipulations ensure quality labor is used while community members reap the benefits of the project occurring within the community.

PLAs improve jobsite safety

Safety matters – not only for the construction workers, but for the contractors and project owner.

Any work stoppage due to injury or worse can push a project’s timeline back. In today’s construction world, this ultimately means lost profit for the project owner. An injury affects the contractor and will likely result in a higher Workers’ Compensation premium. For the construction worker,  an injury has the potential to cause a lifetime of related health issues. 

By agreeing to a PLA, the contractors and project owners acknowledge that safety matters on their jobsite. Union contractors emphasize safety and pay for their employees to undergo mandatory safety training.  A safe workforce is a productive workforce capable of meeting all deadlines. 

Most non-union contractors cannot compete with the safety record of their union competitors.