The Business Council STRONGLY SUPPORTS the aforementioned legislation that would repeal the onerous project labor agreement (PLA) requirement in the new Wicks Law. (Chapter 57, Laws of 2008)
Under the guise of reform, the PLA provisions contained in the new Wicks Law will have a devastating impact on the New York State economy by significantly driving up construction costs on taxpayer financed public works projects. Based on data from The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, the costs of taxpayer financed public works projects could increase by more than 20 percent because of exclusionary rules that stifle competition from non-union contractors and subcontractors.
Moreover, these provisions will exclude significant employment opportunities for workers in upstate New York and have a discriminatory impact on minority and women owned businesses.
Under this year's Wicks law “reforms,” public entities, such as school districts, municipalities and State Agencies, are authorized to require a PLA where it chooses to do so as an alternative to being subject to the separate bidding requirements of Wicks. In addition, public works projects subject to PLA provisions will require a Department of Labor (DOL) approved apprentice training program for all workers employed by contractors and subcontractors. Typically, DOL approved apprenticeship programs are controlled entirely by labor unions thereby excluding many businesses from participating in public works projects.
The problems with the apprenticeship requirements are compounded by the DOL moratorium on these programs which already have an exclusionary impact on many non-union shops and discriminatory ramifications on minority and women owned businesses. According to the Associated Builders and Contractors, only 15 of the nearly 700 minority and women owned businesses within their membership have approved apprenticeship programs. As such, the new Wicks Law provisions are entirely counterproductive to efforts of Governor David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to engage minority and women owned businesses to compete for public works projects.
This legislation would rightfully repeal the new PLA and apprenticeship requirements.
For these reasons, The Business Council STRONGLY SUPPORTS “Fixing Wicks” by the enactment of S.8321 and A.11397.