Waterbury's Experience with PLAs


Proponents of project labor agreements (PLAs) claim that a PLA will somehow guarantee a perfect construction project. They have been known to promise that projects covered by a PLA are always on time, on budget and free of any quality issues.

No one can guarantee that in the construction industry. There is no language in a PLA that would substantiate that promise either. And the poor performance is well documented.

Prior to 2010, Waterbury built all public construction projects with union-only contracts. However, after years of tracking actual performance to goals and comparing it to several nearby open projects, they’ve elected to move two schools forward without PLAs.

Here are articles that chronicle just one city’s experience with PLAs - Waterbury, Conn.

Duggan School Over Budget - Cuts Made

PLA jobs fail to make local hiring goals - again

Gilmartin to bid again as it is over budget by 29% - cuts to be made

Gilmartin adapts a "cheaper" design to get back on budget

Commenting on quality, budget and schedule issues on Waterbury School PLA project

CONTRAST - City Hall Project, same time frame as Duggan and Gilmartin -– Under budget and on time. The City Hall project has NO union-only PLA

Lessons of Rotella School - article about PLA school projects in Waterbury that have quality issues, failed to meet local hiring goals, minority hiring goals and cost over-runs

More quality issues on Waterbury Schools

Waterbury PLAs fail to hit hiring goals for residents and minorities

In contrast, the City Hall Project, with same time frame as Duggan and Gilmartin came in under budget and on time without a union-only PLA requirement.