Last Monday, Binghamton Mayor Richard David vetoed a measure that would have allowed the city to negotiate a project labor agreement (PLA) with unions for a large part of the reconstruction of the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Facility.

A PLAis a contract between local governments and labor unions that set the employment terms for a construction job; these terms of the PLA apply to all contractors and subcontractors that successfully bid the job. As a practical matter, PLAs serve as a strong disincentive to merit shop contractors and subcontractors from doing so by requiring that a certain amount of union workers be hired for the project.

By limiting competition in this way, PLAs hurt taxpayers by driving up project costs.

In his veto memo, Mayor David said that a PLA would have kept many non-union area firms from bidding on the project.  He wrote “There should be a fair and level playing field in which everyone can compete to work on this project.” Read a statement in support of the Mayor’s veto from the Empire State Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

We wholeheartedly agree. Thank you, Mayor David, for standing up for taxpayers and for the men and women who work in merit shops.