Project Labor Agreements

In the course of governmental efficiency arguments at all levels, how often do we hear “government needs to operate more like a business!” Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) have been commonly used in the private sector as a means of project delivery for decades.

In fact, dozens of Ohio’s largest and most successful corporations regularly unitize Project Labor Agreements for their capital improvement needs.

These corporations, and their construction management teams, engineers and architects understand that utilization of project labor agreements on certain complex construction projects ensures project delivery on time, on budget and with the highest degree of workmanship.

By Guaranteeing no strikes and no lockouts, standardizing work schedules and payment arrangements, providing dispute resolution procedures and ensuring contractors have ready access to licensed, highly skilled construction workers, PLAs help both public sector and private sector private sector project owners meet their construction goals.

According to a recent study published by Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations: “Project Labor Agreements make sense… because they promote a planned approach to labor relations, allow contractors to more accurately predict labor costs and schedule production timetables, reduce risks of shoddy work and costly disruptions and encourage greater efficiency and productivity.”1

Public Sector PLAs are not mandatory, nor do they prohibit non-union contractors from bidding on taxpayer funded projects. Such a prohibition would violate Ohio’s competitive bid laws. However, PLAs are essential management tools that, on specific projects, further the taxpayers’ or shareholders’ interests in acquiring the best possible construction services at the lowest possible price.


1 Project Labor Agreements in New York State – In the Public Interest, Fred B. Kotler, J.D., Associate Director, Construction Industry Program, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, March, 2009.