Representative Stephen Bloom
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Fosnot
RepBloom.com / Facebook.com/RepBloom/Twitter.com/RepBloom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2014
Bloom Bill Aims to Save Taxpayer Expense By Ending Special Privilege for Unions in Government Contracts
HARRISBURG – In an initiative to promote opportunities for all workers and save taxpayer dollars, Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) today introduced legislation to end government use of so-called "project labor agreements" (PLAs) that discriminate against the approximately 80 percent of Pennsylvania construction workers who are not union members by excluding them from a fair shot at public construction jobs.
"This legislation will ensure taxpayers get the best work at the best price, and will finally stop the troubling practice of banning qualified contractors from building taxpayer-funded projects just because they aren’t part of some government-favored union," said Bloom. "This is about fairness and openness in the contracting process. State contracts should not discriminate based on union affiliation, or be awarded as part of some political payback."
Known as the Open Contracting Act, Bloom’s House Bill 2096 would encourage open competition among potential contractors by prohibiting "union only" construction contracts, in which a government entity requires the successful bidder or any subcontractor to use exclusively workers who are members of a labor union. Because most open-shop (non-union) construction companies won’t bid on such projects, they are effectively shut out of the bidding process.
"Now, more than ever, it is important we find ways to eliminate waste and ensure we are using taxpayer money wisely," Bloom said. "PLAs promote cronyism in government contracting and potentially drive up the costs of a project, all for the same quality of work."
To achieve the intended reforms, the Open Contracting Act would simply eliminate the use of the union or non-union status of a bidder’s workforce as criteria during the selection process.
PLAs are comprehensive, pre-hire agreements which, under existing law, include labor terms and conditions for construction projects, often incorporating terms from collective bargaining agreements of unions to be involved in the project.
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