The latest example that proves Project Labor Agreements are a benefit to Ohio Construction projects came to light Monday night (April 21) when the Lorain School Board awarded contracts for Lorain High School based on bids that were 6 percent lower than initial estimates.

Some of the savings were quickly allocated to pay for nine of the project’s 18 alternate options, further enhancing a 315,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art high school.
Last year, the North Central Building Trades Council, working in partnership with ACT Ohio, initiated a lawsuit seeking to enforce the existing Project Labor Agreement with the Lorain schools that was challenged by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

After a favorable ruling in January by the judge overseeing the case, negotiations with the Attorney General’s Office and significant discussion with the Kasich Administration resulted in a settlement agreement that allowed the PLA to stand.

And with the PLA in place, the Lorain School Board awarded 14 bid packages for construction totaling $56,654,449 — compared to original estimates totaling $60,654,539. About $4 million more in bids will be awarded later, making the total construction cost now estimated at about $61.5 million.

This is the latest example that proves claims often made by the Associated Builders and Contractors and others that PLAs reduce competition and significantly increase construction project costs are nonsense. The competitive bids in Lorain prove the claims are false.

And since the PLA includes language that ensures workers on the project are local men and women who will spend the money they earn in their hometown communities, the economic benefits can be multiplied five or six times – further increasing the financial impact generated by the agreement.

It’s important to remember examples like the Lorain High School bids next time anyone questions the value of Project Labor Agreements.