Project Labor Agreement Facts

Facts about Union Mandates

Merit Shop Workers can be forced to:

  • Register with a trade union
  • Work under a seniority system to gain work approval
  • Transfer to union mandated health plans
  • Stay with a union 10 years before receiving employer paid benefits

What do union leaders say behind closed doors? You would be surprised. Their truthfulness is refreshing and scary. 

Click HERE to get a printable flier that lists just some of the things union leaders have said behind closed doors.

Facts about PLA Mandates

Facts about PLA Mandates

Merit Shop workers to can be forced to:

  • Enroll only in  apprenticeship programs (Joint Labor/Management Programs) recognized by the union
  • Pay twice into duplicate funds for pension and medical benefit coverage

Merit Shop Worker on Open Bid Job:

  • Employer pays $41.55 wages/fringes per hour
  • Worker takes home $27.50 per hour
  • $14.42 per hour goes towards fringe benefits for the worker.
  • All $14.42 goes directly to worker funds.

Merit Shop Worker on PLA Job:

  • Employer pays $41.55 wages/fringes per hour
  • Worker takes home $27.50 per hour
  • $14.42 per hour goes towards fringe benefits for the worker.
  • Of the $14.42, $5.20 is for the worker -- $9.22 now goes to union funds.

"PLAs are about empowering unions, not helping workers." - The Sacramento Bee

Contractors can be forced to:

  • Subvert existing collective bargaining agreements for unionized companies
  • Leave the negotiating table in favor of union representatives
  • Adopt restrictive work rules which hinders maximum efficiency
  • Use only union job classifications
  • Use costly union arbitration and grievance procedures on all contractors

"PLAs favor union contractors and, by extension, unions. Thus public officials adopting a PLA are currying favor with, and possibly political campaign contributions from, unions. This is just the kind of cronyism the competitive bidding laws seek to avoid." - Engineering News-Record

Facts about the Effects on Individuals


  • Pay off school bonds which face increased costs due to labor union regulations

"The fact is that PLAs increase construction costs considerably and have no place in our community."- Contra Costa Times

"Competition is the key to our economy...that's why we question the Port of Oakland's decision to negotiate an agreement (PLA) that does the opposite."- Oakland Tribune

Women and Minorities

The overwhelming majority of minority and women-owned construction firms (the majority being subcontractors) are merit shop. It is for this reason that every minority and women construction association that has taken a stance has opposed PLAs.

"Worse, the new (PLA) policy undermines count policies intended to benefit small businesses, particularly women- and minority-owned firms, that are less likely to be unionized." - East Bay Business Times

"PLAs are de facto segregation ... African-American workers are significantly underrepresented in all crafts of construction union shops...PLAs are non-competitive and, most of all, discriminatory."- National Black Chamber of Commerce

"Bay Area Black Contractors Association has been a strong advocate for merit shop construction firms in the Bay Area and we are opposed to PLAs."- Bay Area Black Contractors Association

"We believe PLAs make it more difficult for minority-owned contractors to compete...they effectively work against the goals of increasing the number of projects awarded to minority-owned businesses by placing roadblocks in the way."- Latin Builders Association

"The ultimate effect of the San Francisco Airport PLA is clear ... once the PLA was implemented minority business prime contract participation dropped 91.9%. This PLA has been a disaster for minority-owned business. - Asian American Contractors Association

The following list contains just a few of the PLA projects where women and minority-owned construction businesses have been discriminated against.

  • Sacramento Sump 2 Improvement Project
  • Minority participation: .5%
  • Woman participation: .4%
  • Contra Costa County’s Regional Medical Center
  • Minority Participation: 6%
  • Women Participation: 1.34%


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