As a non-union contractor, I am greatly concerned about the City of Brentwood’s consideration of incorporating the PLA (project labor agreement) into its upcoming Civic Center project.
Our firm currently employs 35-40 persons, many of whom live in Brentwood, due to its affordability, excellent quality of life and proximity to work. The PLA issue is a job killer for these people, as it intends to unfairly require bidders to either be union contractors or forces them to join unions in order to work on these projects. In its purest sense, this is restraint of trade, and moreover, hurts the very residents of Brentwood, your constituents.
This says nothing of the added cost with no appreciable benefit to the city or the taxpayers who pay the bill. In nearly all cases where PLAs have been instituted, cost overruns and marginal quality issues have been the norm.
Unions are quick to point out that their contractors are “craftsmen” and that non-union firms are the equivalent of two guys with a mower in the back of a pick-up, driving around looking for their next cash job. This ridiculous analogy could not be further from the truth, and is proven out time and time again on competitive bidding projects around the country. In nearly all cases, the successful (competitive) bidder not only completes the project on time and per specification, but most importantly, under budget.
The primary difference between union and non-union projects is cost. Like the auto industry, non-union firms are not burdened with the legacy costs of so many poor decisions by the union upper echelon that neither understands the line-level worker nor cares to. Their primary concern is continuing to line their special-interest coffers with as much money as they can garner off the backs of the workers, which continues to enslave them for decades to come.
The unions broke GM and Chrysler through their outrageous demands, non-cooperation and inability to understand that open competition breeds quality, success and cost savings to the city and the taxpayer.
The question is: can the City of Brentwood really afford to let the unions do the same here as they have in Detroit?
In this current economic climate, I am certain that the answer is no.
George Peter Forni II, Concord