A bill that ensures that Connecticut can use Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on public works projects cleared the State Senate with a 32-3 vote last week and, yesterday, cleared the House by an equally sizable margin. A legal battle in Hartford brought to light the need for this important legislation which allows the local hire, diversity, wage and safety standards that only PLAs have a history of providing. From the CT Mirror:
"It's one of the only vehicles in the construction industry that can create local employment and local support," Ed Reilly, president of the Hartford Building Trades Council, said after the [Senate] vote.The legislation does not make PLAs mandatory, it merely allows their use.
"It's done only if it's in the community's best interests," said Sen. Edith G. Prague, D-Columbia, co-chairwoman of the Labor and Public Employees Committee.Governor Daniel P. Malloy pledged to sign PLA legislation if it reached his desk, according to CBS:
Another supporter, Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, said project labor agreements "have become one of the hot topics" of debate in his town, "but there's nothing coercive about the legislation."
Malloy emphasized parts of the legislation that give the state transportation commissioner more flexibility in directing how high construction and maintenance projects are contracted. The governor says the legislation will make Connecticut more competitive in applying for critical federal money.California just passed similarly PLA-supportive legislation that aims to end bans on the economic growth and opportunity the agreements provide.