In a big win for taxpayers and free competition, a restrictive “Project Labor Agreement” (PLA) has been removed from a new request for bid on the proposed Tygart Elementary School in Carter County.
Formerly, in an action that amounted to a breech of free trade bidding on the school project, the Carter County School Board had inserted the PLA, which essentially required any contractor who bid on the project to either only hire union workers or to pay non-union workers at union rates.
This triggered a lawsuit on behalf of independent contractors who charged the PLA was designed to force all workers into a union while excluding all non-union contractors from bidding.
While that suit was still in process, a round of bids was opened where all exceeded the $12 million budget for the school. As a consequence, the local board voted to reduce project scope, remove the PLA, and to rebid against a new budget of only $10.5 million.
This is a win on a key Bluegrass Institute initiative: We oppose PLAs as inappropriate governmental interference with free market competition. PLAs bias bidding towards union contractors while running up costs for government projects without providing any extra return on investment.
For more on PLAs and why they are wrong for Kentucky, see Jim Water’s excellent column here.