Today it was announced that Eckman Construction of Bedford won the contract to build the Department of Labor ‘Job Center’ in Manchester. I use the term won, very loosely because in actuality they were the lowest bidder, therefore winning the contract.
“The residential education and job training complex will serve low-income youth ages 16 to 24, with a focus on homeland security, health care and hospitality jobs.” (AP)
The job corp center became an issue for the unionized trade workers in New Hampshire when then Congressman Guinta wanted the bid changed to remove the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that was required by President Obama on all Federal Projects.
In 2009 shortly after the project was announced the bid was pulled to remove the PLA. This drew a large protest from Joe Casey President of the the New Hampshire Building Trades Council.
“The selfish actions of North Branch and the ABC stand to harm hundreds of people in New Hampshire: Young people will not be able to benefit from participation in Job Corps programs. Area businesses will not benefit in the long term from a greater number or professionally trained workers and in the short term from the economic boost of a $35 million project. And construction workers that are struggling through one of the worst down periods in our lifetime will continue to struggle to find work.”
“Project labor agreements, also known as Community Workforce Agreements, have a long history of protecting both project owners and the workers who build them. In addition to setting clear, uniform, negotiated standards for all workers on a project, they also have been shown to improve safety, minimize delays, and save owners money,”
In spite of the numerous benefit to workers and the community the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) worked with Congressman Guinta after he was elected in 2010, to get the project scrapped until it was re-bid without a PLA. Even though Guinta’s amendment was rejected the ABC praised his efforts with an award.
Guinta’s connection to the ABC was again brought to the forefront durning his last election campaign. ABC donated $20,000 to the reelection campaign on top of sending out mailers to all of Guinta’s district.
So even though Congressman Guinta is no longer in Washington his anti-union policies are still hurting New Hampshire.
NH Carpenters Union Business Agent John Jackson said of ABC “If they had their way, all government regulation would be eliminated – no safety laws, no requirement to pay wages for all hours worked, no requirement for worker’s comp coverage for all workers. Their anti-competition argument covers up business practices that decimate our community.”
Well Congressman Guinta, you got your way this time and the New Hampshire workers are going to suffer because of it.