Advocacy Blog_ABC_Keystone

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

August 30, 2017

In early 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) indicated that they had plans to include a project labor agreement (PLA) in their bid process for a road reconstruction project in Montgomery County. The effort would be a first for PennDOT and PLAs in general have a long track record of failure with other state agencies, including the Department of General Services (DGS)’s failed utilization of PLAs on prison projects like Fayette County in 2011. PLAs routinely are billed as pre-hire construction addenda that reduce work stoppages and keep project costs in line. In fact, PLAs mandate the use of union-only labor, discriminating against nearly 90% of the construction workforce and hand-deliver millions of taxpayer dollars to labor unions. 

In early August, PennDOT released the long-awaited bid for the reconstruction of Markley Street, complete with a union-only PLA. The Keystone chapter, along with several other ABC chapters and individual taxpayers, filed suit against the Department Secretary Leslie Richards for misuse of taxpayer dollars. Last week, attorneys for the chapter and other litigants were set to make arguments for expedited discovery, demanding the chain of communications between the Department and labor unions to highlight the behind-the-scenes collusion. Rather than argue a rebuttal, PennDOT abruptly announced that they were cancelling the project. 

Whatever the reason for the cancellation, ABC scored a huge win for free enterprise and the merit shop by saving millions of dollars from waste and corruption!