When it comes to school construction, waste and mismanagement can have a real impact on our children’s education. Every dollar wasted could mean fewer classrooms, teachers or books.
Here are some examples of the negative impact of PLA mandates on communities around the country.
Ohio Schools for the Blind and Deaf: Ohio voters experienced firsthand how taxpayers can only afford four schools for the price of five. In 2010, reports showed construction bids for the residential section of the Ohio State School for the Blind and the Ohio School for the Deaf came in 22 percent below bids subject to a PLA. Not surprisingly, reports also showed more competition in bidding occurred for projects not subject to a government-mandated PLA. (Learn more from the report at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com.)
San Diego Proposition S PLA Requirement Increases Cost and Reduces Competition: By a narrow 3-2 vote, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) required PLAs on all projects funded by the voter-approved $2.1 billion Proposition S school construction bond. When projects funded by Proposition S went out for bid, PLA project bids were 9.7 percent less than the SDUSD’s budget. However, the projects bid without the imposition of the union-only PLA were 31.6 percent below budget–a 21.9 percent difference. At that rate, the imposition of PLA mandates would cost taxpayers more than $200 million in unnecessary construction costs on planned projects.
The PLA requirement reduced competition, too. Despite the construction industry facing the worst economy since the Great Depression, the SDUSD was able to interest an average of five responsive general contractor bidders on projects with PLA mandates, compared to 10 responsive general contractor bidders on projects without a government-mandated PLA. General contractors complained projects received only about 50 percent of the subcontractor bids that the non-PLA projects received. (Learn more)
Thomas Jefferson High School: In Pennsylvania, the West Jefferson Hills School District entered into a project labor agreement to construct the new West Jefferson High School. Despite promises that entering into a PLA would ensure enough qualified local workers were hired for the project, the opposite occurred. The schools opening was delayed because the union-only PLA couldn’t deliver enough workers to fulfill project demands, while non-union workers were excluded from working on the new high school. As of August 2018 there is no timetable for the school’s opening.
Kentucky: In 2010, the Carter County School Board was forced to reject two rounds of bids on the Tygart High School construction project after the lowest bid under a PLA came in more than $1 million over budget. (Learn more here and here)