US: Project Labor Agreement - Another Obama policy - 8 Febr. 2010

One year ago US president Barack Obama reversed the decision from president Bush to recall the rules on Project Labor Agreement, a collective bargaining agreement for larger construction sites. The fierce debate on the pros and cons continues.

Just after his inauguration US president Barack Obama reversed many decisions from the Bush era, but one that has gotten little attention outside the US is his executive order on Project Labor Agreements or Community Workforce Agreements. 

For construction projects larger than 25 million US dollar and funded by federal money, trade unions get the right to negotiate a collective agreement for the whole project which will be valid for all subcontractors. Often construction workers are hired through a local union hall. 

This policy has kept the industry very divided. Opponents point out the increased costs for the tax payer and argue it would give a back door to give trade unions who are losing membership. 

Politicians have been accused of paying back the trade unions in this way for donations to their election campaigns. 

Those in favour say it guarantees labor peace at the construction site, allowing projects to be finished on time. Project owners have more control and public bodies like schools and municipalities would use the PLA's to realize social goals, like employment and community welfare. 

In the meantime the controversy about the PLA's has most certainly helped employment of lawyers and academics, who have been supporting both sides.

 According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) comparing performances of contractors work with or without a PLA was not possible because of the lack of data

 

How much do workers on construction sites actually earn? Check our US Paywizard for the details. 

At the WageIndicator we regularly compare salaries for occupations between countries, like here for primary school teachers. 


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