A Project Labor Agreement, The Only Guarantee for Local Workers

Some people claim that a PLA will prevent local workers from being used on the construction in the Central Valley. The truth is that a PLA is the only way to guarantee that local workers and apprentices will be used. PLAs guarantee that local hiring is a priority and set guidelines for hiring of local workers and apprentices first. It is an obligation of the contract.

Without a PLA, no local workers have to be used at all. Anyone can bid on this job, with or without a PLA. A company from outside of the area can win a bid and not use a single local worker. Recent history in the area proves this is so.

Example: The new Atwater Federal prison was built without a PLA. The General Contractor and main electrical contractor were both from San Diego. The project had many costly delays and did not employ local workers.

Example: When the Dillard's department store was built in Modesto, the bid was won by a company from Texas. Not only did they import an entire crew from Texas, they actually hung a Texas flag from a crane during the job to emphasize that local workers were shut out.

Example: When the Modesto Irrigation District built a pumping station the bid was won by an out-of-state contractor. The contractor brought in the entire work crew from out of state. No local workers were hired.

Finally, the real irony over the current controversy is that a successful Project Labor Agreement has been moving forward steadily just 40 miles from where the UC Merced campus will be built. The huge $350 million Diablo Grande project will include five championship golf courses, up to 5,000 custom built homes, a winery and a 300-room hotel/convention center. This project has been ongoing for five years and the hotel construction will start this spring. Except for continuing environmental issues, the construction aspect of the work has proceeded smoothly-using local workers. Phase 1, $103 million, was completed on time and on budget with a PLA.

In addition, PLAs have been used for nearly $5 billion in work in the Central Valley, employing thousands of local workers and contractors.

The truth is that PLAs already work in the Central Valley, while many non-PLA projects have shut out local workers. Forget about rhetoric, the facts are in your own back yard.

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