Create Construction Jobs By Eliminating Mandatory PLA's, Urges WCOE

Sep 09, 2011, 08:29 ET from Women Construction Owners & Executives USA

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Obama's call to create more jobs by investing in infrastructure projects will be unsuccessful in putting the majority of unemployed construction workers back to work unless he rescinds his 2009 Executive Order mandating that Federal construction projects include Project Labor Agreements (PLA's). Women Construction Owners & Executives USA (WCOE) believes that limiting new infrastructure contracts to PLA union signatory companies has the effect of favoring large construction companies and raising a barrier for small and women-owned companies.

A PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific project requiring the contractor to hire all workers through union halls, or that non-union workers pay union dues. Today unions represent only 13% of the construction workforce. The effect of mandatory PLA's on all federal government construction projects is to limit small business' ability to compete with multi-national firms who have greater access to these workers.

WCOE believes a more sensible policy is to give state and local entities discretion to determine what is right for their constituencies with respect to worker requirements.

WCOE members and the 300,000 women-owned construction companies in this country have been adversely affected by the lingering recession and declining state and local government budgets for construction and infrastructure projects.  The President's proposal to spur construction job creation by investing in this nation's infrastructure could be welcome news.

In order to offset barriers to winning bids, WCOE also believes it is critical that Federal, State and Local agency utilization of the Congressionally enacted women's procurement program, also referred to as 8(m) is maximized. The program designates a small percentage of the project to bids from qualified women-owned businesses.

The 28-year-old Women Construction Owners & Executives USA advocates for laws and regulations that help provide women-owned small businesses a level playing field in the federal government marketplace as well as creating contracting opportunities for all women-owned businesses in the non-traditional field of construction.

SOURCE Women Construction Owners & Executives USA