By TIM ROWDEN
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has signed an executive ordering requiring the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on publicly-funded and publicly-assisted construction projects in the city.
The order applies to projects that cost $500,000 or more, where no more than half of the project funding comes from the State of Missouri.
A PLA, also known as a Community Workforce Agreement, is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. Under PLAs, before any workers are hired on the project, construction unions have bargaining rights to determine the wage rates and benefits of all employees working on the particular project and to agree to the provisions of the agreement. The project owner and construction unions agree on wage rates and benefits for all employees working on the project and agree that there will be no strikes, lockouts or other labor disruptions for the duration of the project.
Slay’s order read, in part, “Project labor agreements promote uniformity of working conditions for workers employed on a project and close cooperation among all concerned, resulting in a more efficient project.”
The terms of the agreement apply to all contractors and subcontractors who successfully bid on the project, and supersedes any existing collective bargaining agreements
Typically, PLAs require that any non-union contractor hired for the project follows union rules with respect to the workers assigned to the project.
Slay’s executive order requires the Board of Public Service to analyze the affect of a PLA before issuing a request for proposals for a project.
PLAs have been used on federal projects since the 1930s.
‘THIS IS HUGE’
“This is huge,” said Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council.
“I think this tightens up some issues we have had in the city in the past. This will be a good tool we can use to promote a 100 percent union job. This is good for us.”
‘A GREAT TEAM’
Long a friend of labor, Slay praised union members Aug. 27 when he spoke at the annual awards luncheon of the St. Louis Construction Cooperative (formerly PRIDE of St. Louis Inc.)
Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corporation, received the Joe Rinke Owner Award at the luncheon.
“We’ve got a great team,” Slay said. “And we’re here to work with you as you fulfill your mission of building a better work environment and construction environment to move our region forward.”