4/4/11

D.C. GOP Bails Out AFL-CIO Thugs

But new 'Labor Scorecard' haunts pro-union lawmakers
Even though the vast majority of American construction workers do not belong to a labor union, federal government policy discriminates against these workers when awarding government construction projects. An attempt to put a stop to this took place on Feb. 19 in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the attempt failed on a tie vote of 210-210. Two Michigan Republicans were amongst the 26 GOP “no” voters who could have broken the tie and won the vote for the “yes” side. All of the 210 “yes” votes were Republicans. The amendment had no Democrat support.

The two Republicans from Michigan that voted “no” were Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., and Thad McCotter, R-Livonia.
Frank Guinta, R-NH, introduced the amendment at issue as part of the federal budget showdown over the “Continuing Appropriations Act.” Guinta’s amendment proposed to put a halt to government construction contracts that require a “project labor agreement.”

A PLA artificially restricts the number of contractors who may bid on a public construction job so that only firms with unionized workers may apply. A study commissioned by the federal government has shown that PLAs can increase costs to taxpayers by almost 10 percent, while other recent research has shown that the added cost may be well above 10 percent.

“Project labor agreements are basically just a mechanism to cut off non-union competition,” said Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center. “They do nothing to improve quality of workmanship or labor peace on the job site.”
The effect of the federal PLA requirement is to exclude 86 percent of the construction workforce from bidding on government contracts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that less than 14 percent of U.S. construction workers belong to a union.
“This vote was an attempt to level the playing field and give all workers equal treatment,” said F. Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It was to prohibit the federal government from expending funds favoring unions over the vast majority of other workers.”

CEI has created a “Labor Scorecard” for the U.S. House of Representatives. The purpose of it is to track votes on “pro-worker legislation,” according to Vernuccio. So far for the 112th Congress, there are three votes being scored on the site, with U.S. Reps. McCotter and Miller voting against all three of the pro-worker positions identified by CEI.


(full story at michigancapitolconfidential.com)

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