Published June 11, 2013
A bill prohibiting local governments from requiring contractors and subcontractors to sign a project labor agreement or other agreements with labor unions as a condition of performing work on public construction projects has been passed by the S.C. Legislature.
The measure "will ensure that public construction contracts will be awarded to firms that provide taxpayers the best construction at the best price," said Doug Carlson, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors of the Carolinas.
A project labor agreement, also known as a PLA, discourages competition from nonunion contractors and their workers by requiring a construction project to be awarded only to contractors and subcontractors that agree to recognize unions as the representatives of their employees on that job, the trade group said.
The agreement also may require the contractor to use the union hall to recruit workers, comply with the union's apprenticeship and work rules, and contribute to pension plans or other benefit programs available only for union members.
Studies show that PLA mandates can increase construction costs by about 20%, the trade group said.
South Carolina is the 17th state to pass a law forbidding the requirement of a PLA for a public construction project, the trade group added.
Gov. Nikki Haley signed the measure Friday.