• Sept. 16, 2019

Letter to Stockton City Council: Low Bid Is 30% Over Estimate? Here's a Solution - Re-bid it without a Union Project Labor Agreement.

Possible Solution to Problem! - Item 11.16 on 9/17/19 Stockton City Council Agenda

Dear Stockton City Council:

At your meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, September 17) meeting you will reject your two bids received for the Sidewalk, Curb, and Gutter Repair Program FY 2018-19. The meeting agenda item is #11.16. (See the meeting agenda: Stockton City Council Meeting Agenda - September 17, 2019.)

The low bid of $2,240,000 was 30% higher than the engineer’s estimate. This city has insufficient funds to award the project at this price.

The bid specifications for this contract required construction companies to sign the city’s Community Workforce and Training Agreement (aka Project Labor Agreement) with construction trade unions. It’s quite possible that some local responsible and capable bidders who could perform this work at a reasonable price chose not to bid on this contract because of this requirement. In fact, it’s quite certain your union mandate discouraged potential bidders.

The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction suggests that you rebid the project but eliminate the requirement for the contractor and subcontractors to sign the city’s Community Workforce and Training Agreement (aka Project Labor Agreement) with unions. Project Labor Agreements discourage companies from bidding on contracts (that’s why there is intense political pressure to use them) and tend to result in higher bids.

Eliminating this unnecessary mandate might attract more bids at more competitive prices. 

Give it a try and see what happens.


Eric Christen
Executive Director
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction


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