Project Labor Agreements
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What is a Project Labor Agreement?
A project labor agreement (PLA) is a type of collective bargaining agreement typically formed between unions and owners of construction projects. The agreement is project-specific and is finalized before labor is hired. As authorized by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), PLAs can be used on private and public projects. Project labor agreements can be voluntarily entered or mandated by the government or a private entity. Non-union firms working on a project must enter collective bargaining with unions.
What are Possible PLA Disadvantages for Non-Unionized Firms?
Requirements of project labor agreements may be disadvantageous because non-union firms are required to:
- Use union hiring halls referrals to hire new workers
- Pay union wages and benefits regardless of union membership
- Abide by PLA-set dispute resolution mechanisms
- Follow union rules on apprenticeship and seniority
- Pay into union benefits funds
What are some Benefits of Project Labor Agreements?
On the other hand, there are a number of clear advantages to PLAs:
- In advance formation for a limited time and specific project only
- Increase in labor stability as a result of anti-strike and lock-out provisions
- Allow for extra cost incentives for project owners ( e.g. reduced paid vacations)
- Optimize costs by establishing of fixed rates and deadlines for project’s duration
- Increase participation of minorities through union apprenticeships
Should I Seek an Attorney’s Advice?
A qualified labor and employment attorney may help to set up a PLA for use in public or private sector. An attorney will help you or your firm to understand PLA provisions as well as associated risks and liabilities. An attorney may advise you about your options if you believe your rights had been violated. Further, labor unions or non-union firms may have to file a lawsuit to enforce their project labor agreement.
A qualified labor and employment law attorney will advise your organization about available courses of action. Additionally, attorney representation may be required in PLA mandated arbitration proceedings.
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Last Modified: 08-08-2013 10:11 AM PDT
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