Virginia Sen. Mark Obenshain’s bill to prevent the state from mandating “project labor agreements” passed the Senate on 20-20 vote, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling casting the tie-breaking vote. The measure now goes to the House, where a companion bill, patroned by Del. Barbara Comstock, passed 69-27.
The aim of these bills is to open up contracts to bids from both union and non-union firms. In a press release, Obenshain stated that union-only contracts significantly increased construction costs on several recent projects. But there’s a local jobs angle, too:
Since 95 percent of contractors in Virginia are not unionized, moreover, such requirements make it disproportionately likely that out-of-state contractors will be hired for this and other contract work bound by PLAs. “PLAs don’t just inflate costs – they give the work we’re paying for to out-of-state union companies,” said Obenshain.
Speaking of his tie-breaking vote on the Senate Bill, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said:
Public dollars should not be diverted to projects involving Project Labor Agreements that favor union shops over merit shops. This critical legislation protects our right-to-work law and continues to promote a pro-business environment.
Chalk it up as another example of how elections really do have consequences — in this case, of the good kind.
Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.