• Dec. 17, 2019

Napa County Staff Recommend Against Project Labor Agreement for Jail - But How Will the Politicians Vote?

Today (December 17, 2019) the Napa County Board of Supervisors will get an update from the county’s Director of Public Works and County Executive Officer on the Replacement Jail Project (Project). The update will include an official recommendation that the Napa County Board of Supervisors not require construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of winning a contract to build the jail.

Item 9D - Director of Public Works and County Executive Officer to provide update on the Replacement Jail Project (Project) and recommend the Project be bid and constructed without the requirement for a Project Labor Agreement (PLA)

Staff Report
Replacement Jail Budget Update 12-17-19
Jail Financing Plan
PLA Literature and Resources

Obviously staff doesn’t see any benefit for cutting bid competition and raising costs by giving monopoly control of the workforce to construction trade unions. But one of the 20 axioms about fighting Project Labor Agreements is “PLAs are about politics, not about logic.”

The Napa County Board of Supervisors will decide today if they want to serve the interests of ALL of their residents or show favoritism to the unions that support campaigns for local elected office in Napa County.

Should government require companies to sign labor agreements with unions as a condition of winning contracts for public works projects? Even if it costs more for taxpayers?

Union officials would much prefer to have elected government officials coerce workers into their organization instead of trying to convince workers to make a free choice to join. It’s easier to attend a fundraiser than engage in sales and marketing with independent construction workers.

But what do the taxpayers think? Considering that “prevailing wages” are mandated for the Replacement Jail Project, and those wages are the sum of all the payments indicated in the union Master Labor Agreement for each trade in Napa County, there’s no legitimate reason to cut competition and increase costs with a Project Labor Agreement, except to give a prize to your political patrons.


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