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NH IronWorkers Local 7 Agent Shawn Cleary Responds To NH Union Leaders Attacks On PLAs

On Saturday the NH Union Leader posted a horrible editorial about the Manchester Jobs Corps Center dropping the Project Labor Agreement restriction on the project.  This now allows companies to come in and bid for the project using below standard wages and other cost cutting measures.  This usually means lower safety standards and lower quality of work.  This is what the Union Leader had to say:

 Job Corps delay ended: Another blow to labor/Dem axis | New Hampshire OPINION01“Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor dropped its requirement that the new Job Corps Center in Manchester be governed by a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). That is a rule that essentially requires the use of union labor on a construction project. About 80 percent of contractors are not unionized. PLAs force contractors to submit to union rules and pay scales, thus removing a big competitive advantage non-union contractors have over unionized rivals. The department required the PLA back in 2009. Several contractors sued, and the project has been held up ever since. 

Ironically, President Obama’s Feb. 6, 2009, executive order commanding that PLAs be considered for all federal construction projects of $25 million or more stated that the purpose of using PLAs was “to promote the efficient administration and completion of federal construction projects.””

Below is a response from Shawn Cleary, Business Agent for the
New Hampshire Iron Workers Local 7.

Another Blow to Labor! Now there’s something worth celebrating. It’s about time we turn complete control over to the employer. Thank you for pointing out the competitive advantage non-union contractors enjoy over unionized rivals. It just goes to show that when workers stand together, it makes the world an unfair place. 

Just a few years ago it was made crystal clear at the Berlin Federal Prison. Union contractors brought so much unnecessary baggage to the table that they couldn’t possibly compete. No one will believe this, but in some cases, the wages the workers demanded could support entire families. In contrast, the non-union general contractor was able to search the country to find which states’ workers would come to NH for the lowest pay. 

Had there been a PLA on that project, I don’t imagine the LOCAL unions would have put out the call to Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, Nebraska, Arizona, Kentucky, or Canada, like the non-union did. That’s just not how they work. Stupid unions, don’t they know the best way for a community to maximize their return on an investment in a project is to bring in as many out of state workers as possible, so they will spend their money at the local pizza shops and hotels? If the locals worked there, under union rules, while receiving good wages and benefits, what would that produce? A bunch of highfalutin construction workers, whose kids would grow up thinking labor had value. That’s what it would produce. Yup, anarchy! If that’s what you want, go work down in Massachusetts and don’t worry about having to work around a bunch of liberals. 
Thousands of UL readers are already down there working. I just hope they’re packing a lunch and keeping their mouths shut about how much more they can earn in a more union-friendly, I mean communist, state. If you’re a spectator of the ever-increasingly popular race to the bottom, than enjoy your place on the sidelines and make sure to have a cup of mud ready to throw in the workers’ faces as they run by. Remind them that the reason unions don’t work in NH has nothing to do with organizations like the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) trying to force them out, it is simply that people have decided that sticking together is nonsense.

Around here, workers negotiate one-on-one with contractors and do far better than they ever could if they spoke with one voice representing thousands. Solidarity, shmolidarity. If you miss this week’s race, don’t worry, they’ll be running next week and the week after too. You see, there is no finish line in a vicious circle. So celebrate another strike to decent wages, benefits, and self-sufficiency. While we’re at it, let’s launch a decibel threatening cheer for the ABC, the greatest union of construction company owners the country has ever seen, benefiting those who need it most, large construction company owners! Congratulations, on your latest victory against the “enemy,” the greedy parents and NH residents who envisioned their lot as union construction workers as a road to provide their families access to the finer things in life, like health care and retirement benefits.

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