AGC Protests PLA Use on Bates Project

AGC has responded to a request for comment from the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) concerning the possible use of a government mandated project labor agreement (PLA) on the new Communications Tech Center at Bates Technical College in Tacoma.

“It is our view that a PLA is unwarranted for this project” said AGC Government Affairs Director Rick Slunaker in a response to a request for comment by DES. “Our objections are in three essential categories. First the project does not seem ‘PLA-worthy’ in that we do not see any of the characteristics or conditions of the construction project which lend themselves to the successful utilization of a PLA. Second we have serious concerns over the manner in which the decision to use a PLA was arrived at specifically that contractors’ views were not solicited or considered in deciding whether to use a PLA or in the development of the draft PLA agreement which DES intends to impose upon project bidders. Finally elements of the draft PLA in our experience may well act to increase project burdens in time and expense for both the contractor and DES during the project’s construction.”

Slunaker elaborated on all of AGC’s concerns not the least of which is the fact that DES has already proposed a PLA with no input from contractors. “Although it may be the intent to require the successful bidder to negotiate a PLA prior to commencing construction establishing the proposed draft as the starting point severely limits the negotiating position of the general contractor allowing organized labor to adopt a ‘take it or leave’ approach” Slunaker said. “This amounts to a government-negotiated PLA which AGC has long opposed as this approach imposes terms which may actually hinder the achievement of any desired benefits from PLA utilization.”

At press time no response had been received from DES. For more information contact Rick Slunaker 360-352-5000.