By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

For months, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie Richards has been hounded by members of the General Assembly and construction industry groups about the reconstruction of U.S. Route 202 in Montgomery County. While the project itself is nothing out of the ordinary – reconstruction of a section of the road known as Markley Street – the Department has, for the first time ever, utilized a project labor agreement (PLA), excluding open shop contractors from participating in the project.

Last week, the Keystone chapter and nearly a dozen other litigants fired back, filing a suit against the Department in Commonwealth Court, Pennsylvania’s appellate court that handles legal actions against state agencies. The suit alleges that the project labor agreement not only constitutes an illegal expenditure of taxpayer funds through its discrimination of pre-qualified contractors, but also utilizes an illegal bid process by asking contractors to utilize union-only labor. Not only was the suit filed by the Keystone chapter, but also includes three other ABC chapters across Pennsylvania, a number of ABC members including J.D. Eckman, and a variety of union highway contractors who had been cut out of the pre-negotiated agreement between PennDOT and several union halls.

Preliminary arguments on the case begin this week, and with a bid date of September 14, for the project itself, attorneys for ABC and other litigants are seeking a speedy result.

Details on the case itself can be found here.