11/10/09

Obama delays union-only mandate

Oppressive contractors force union thugs to take time-out
The U.S. Department of Labor has canceled the bid process for the 160,000-square-foot Job Corps Center planned off Dunbarton Road. The estimated cost of the project is $35 million.

The Labor Department's decision came a day short of one month after North Branch Construction of Concord filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office. North Branch decried the Labor Department's requirement for a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that the contractor contends mandates following union rules and paying into union benefit funds as a condition for bidding on the project.

The Associated Builders and Contractors, which represents 25,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms that employ more than 2 million people, is supporting North Branch in its legal battle.

"This is a real win for the principle of fair and open competition in government procurement," said North Branch attorney Maurice Baskin of Venable LLC. "It is no coincidence that the Department of Labor canceled its unlawful PLA mandate the day before the agency was required to file a response to our bid protest. We demonstrated that there was no justification for imposing a PLA on this project and that the PLA mandate violated the Competition in Contracting Act and other long-standing federal procurement requirements."

North Branch filed the protest contending that most contractors in the state are non-union and the PLA would prevent them from working on the project.

"We are not anti-union," Ken Holmes, president of North Branch Construction in Concord, said in a statement at the time the protest was filed. "We work with union and non-union contractors, but the preponderance of contractors in New Hampshire are non-union. This knocks all of them out of the ball game.

"If the PLA remains, virtually every contractor working on the project will be out of state and they'll be union." (from unionleader.com)
Related video: What is a Project Labor Agreement?

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