S.6408/A.9008 (Budget) Part H


Director, Center for Human Resources


S.6408/A.9008 (Budget) Part H


Project Labor Agreement requirement in “design build’ projects



The Business Council opposes the Executive Budget’s proposal mandating Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) in design-build projects:

  • Since signed into law in 2011, the Infrastructure Investment Act design-build process has been used by DOT to procure contracts for bridge and deck replacements, and highway, bridge and rail station rehabilitation. The Thruway Authority used the design-build procurement process for the New NY Bridge (Tappan Zee) project. According to the division of the Budget, the design-build procurement method has accelerated DOT projects by at least a year and resulted in $1 billion of savings on the New NY Bridge alone. The use of the design build approach has obviously contributed to optimizing cost, quality and efficiency on these projects. Nationally, the Design-Build Institute of America estimates that on average design-build projects are completed thirty-three percent faster and can save up to six percent on cost. No compelling reason has been cited for taking what has been a successful design-build program in New York State, so far, and saddling it with a PLA requirement.
  • PLAs require that virtually all workers hired on a project be union members. Approximately 75% of construction workers in New York State are not union members. Mandating PLAs in design-build projects eliminates this significant majority of New Yorkers from work on these projects.
  • Since most Minority and Women owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) are not unionized, most would be precluded from participation on design-build projects.
  • No other state mandates PLAs on design-build projects.
  • PLAs are already authorized and used on construction projects in New York State. Authorizing agencies have a deliberative process to determine if a PLA should be used. This proposal would shortcut the current process and require PLA use. Moving from authorized use of PLAs to mandated use of PLAs is overreach and bad public policy.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes mandated project labor agreements as proposed in S.6408/A.9008 (Budget) Part H