PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS
Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) are agreements put in place regarding employment in public projects. Beyond pay rates, they dictate the source of workers, the source of apprentices, and contributions to health and benefit plans. Usually put forth by organized labor, any contractor (unionized or not) that chooses to bid on or participate in the covered project must abide by the terms of the PLA.
Two fundamental beliefs I have:
"A person has a right to their labor, and the fruits thereof."
In a time when the term “rights” is tossed around to describe almost anything, these are basic human rights.
"A person has the right to voluntary association with others."
Beyond the philosophical core of PLAs, ANY contract that is put in front of city council should benefit our city and its residents, not just whoever drafted the contract. Council members are there represent the best interests of Fairfield's citizens. Instead, “negotiating” with groups who most likely have contributed or will contribute to their election campaign clouds their impartiality, and makes one wonder who their primary constituency is.
For the recently approved Train Station PLA, it resembled a standard boiler plate template that has been used in many other projects. The council and staff claimed it was negotiated, but when I inquired what clauses were negotiated and updated to benefit Fairfield and its workers, the council and staff never could answer my question.
PLAs are usually marketed with the promise of local jobs. Yet, this agreement calls for a goal of 25% of the jobs created being filled by local workers. For a goal, this is too low.. why not aim high and go for a 75% goal?
A cloud of doubt remains in my mind of the benefit of this agreement to the people of Fairfield. Any PLA or other contract put forth to city council should provide overwhelming benefit for Fairfield, or I will not support it.