HARRISBURG — More small businesses would be able to compete for publicly funded construction projects under a proposal announced today by Senator Scott Martin (R-13).
Senate Bill 811 would prohibit discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs) that limit the number of companies that are eligible to bid on taxpayer-funded projects. Since PLAs typically require the use of union labor, this policy discriminates against merit shop contractors and other businesses that are perfectly capable of completing government-funded construction projects, often at a lower cost to taxpayers.
More than 80 percent of Pennsylvania construction industry workers belong to non-union shops. In construction markets where the demand for union labor is greater than the local supply, union workers from outside the local area are given preference over qualified local non-union workers on PLA projects.
“All levels of government should make it a priority to use taxpayer dollars as efficiently and responsibly as possible,” Martin said. “If non-union companies can perform the same quality of work at a lower cost to taxpayers, then they should be given that opportunity – especially when that work can be performed by a local company that creates jobs in the community where the project is being completed.”
Martin led efforts to ban the use of PLAs at the county level when he served as a Lancaster County Commissioner. Lancaster was the first government entity east of the Mississippi River and 13th government entity in the nation to prohibit PLAs.
Martin’s proposal would also make it illegal for a public body to consider the union/non-union status of an employer’s workforce in its selection criterion for awarding a public project.
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535