Thursday, December 12, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, August 01, 2019
Exclude 2/3 of Contractors from Bidding? Proposal on Council Agenda
By Grassroot Institute @ 5:03 PM :: 1995 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics, Labor

Grassroot Institute testifies on ‘community workforce agreements’

From Grassroot Institute, August 1, 2019

A proposed ordinance that would effectively exclude two-thirds of Hawaii’s 4,500 licensed contractors from bidding on most county construction projects drew a response last week from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

In testimony submitted to Honolulu City Council Committee on Budget, Joe Kent, executive vice president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, noted that Bill 37 would restrict those who can bid on all county projects worth $250,000 or more by requiring that they be willing to adhere to “community workforce agreements.” He said CWAs, also known as project labor agreements, basically limit the use of nonunion employees on public projects, thereby reducing competition among bidders and adding to the costs for taxpayers. 

The bill was reported out of the budget meeting and likely will be heard at the next Council meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Background:

  *   *   *   *   *

Testimony on ‘Community Workforce Agreements’ — Bill 37

by Joe Kent, Grassroot Institute, July 26, 2019

This testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii to the Honolulu City Council Committee on Budget, July 24, 2019.

RE: Bill 37 (2019) — RELATING TO COMMUNITY WORKFORCE AGREEMENTS. [1] 

Aloha, Chair [Joey] Manahan, Vice Chair [Brandon] Elefante and other members of the Honolulu City Council Committee on Budget.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has concerns about the effect of Bill 37 on both the local construction industry and Honolulu taxpayers.

The proposed ordinance would enact sweeping and restrictive hiring conditions on county projects worth more than $250,000 through the implementation of “community workforce agreements.”

These CWAs, also known as project labor agreements, would drastically limit the use of nonunion employees on public projects, thereby reducing competition among bidding contractors and increasing costs for Honolulu taxpayers.

As you have heard from Jonathan Young, president of the Associated Builders & Contractors, Hawaii chapter, there is a legal question about whether the county even has the authority to regulate procurement. But that aside, Young also noted that about two-thirds of Hawaii’s approximately 4,500 licensed contractors are non-union, and Bill 37 would effectively exclude them from bidding on the county’s smaller construction projects.[2]

Nationwide, states and municipalities have actually been removing PLA requirements. This past March, Kentucky became the 25th state to welcome all qualified bidders to compete for state construction contracts, since studies have shown that PLAs tend to increase the cost of government projects.

The Beacon Hill Institute, for example, found that PLAs increased construction costs per square foot of Ohio schools by 13%.[3] A National University System Institute for Policy Research study found similar results, 13-15%, for new school construction in California.[4]

West Virginia,[5] Massachusetts[6] and New Hampshire[7],[8] found that the removal of PLA requirements resulted in larger pools of bidders and lower final bids. In New Hampshire, a public project that removed its PLA requirements not only lowered its costs, but elicited lower bids from union contractors.[9]

In Hawaii, the state “encourages” PLAs for public projects worth at least $25 million,[10] a more rational threshold that nevertheless still increases the costs of government contracts across the board. Consider, for example, the cost overruns and delays on the Honolulu rail project or the delays that plagued the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy Building, both of which are PLA projects.

Though the rationale for this legislation is phrased in terms of promoting a skilled local workforce and achieving construction efficiency,[11] there is little evidence that it would have the desired effect. The experience with PLA requirements both in Hawaii and nationwide demonstrates that they are associated with rising costs and delays. Nothing in the experience of PLA projects in Hawaii suggests that they are superior in performance and efficiency than non-PLA projects.

On the contrary, instituting $250,000 as the threshold for CWAs to go into effect would only guarantee that even very small county projects would be subject to less competition among bidders and higher prices for taxpayers.

With other states abandoning CWAs and PLAs because of their association with uncompetitive bidding, cost overruns and delays, Bill 37 would be a step backward, a sign that Honolulu is moving in the wrong direction.

At a time when we should be thinking about trimming the county budget, this legislation would guarantee that the county would have to spend more on infrastructure projects — and Honolulu taxpayers would be the ones left to deal with the fallout.

Thank you for your consideration.

Aloha,

Joe Kent
Executive vice president
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

–––––––––––––

[1] Bill 37, 2019, PDF. See also HTM.

[2] Jonathan Young, “Testimony in Strong Opposition to Bill 37 (2019),” July 24, 2019, p. 13.

[3] Paul Bachman and David G. Tuerck, “Project Labor Agreements and the Cost of School Construction in Ohio,” The Beacon Hill Institute, May 2017, p.1.

[4] Vince Vasquez, Dr. Dale Glaser and W. Erik Bruvold, “Measuring the Cost of Project Labor Agreements on School Construction in California,” National University System Institute for Policy Research, 2011, p. 10.

[5] Maurice Baskin, “Union-only Project Labor Agreements: The Public Record of Poor Performance,” Associated Builders & Contractors, 2005, p. 14.

[6] David G. Tuerck and Paul Bachman, “Project Labor Agreements and Financing School Construction in Massachusetts,” The Beacon Hill Institute, December 2006, p. 23.

[7]Construction of a New Job Corps Center in Manchester, New Hampshire Solicitation Number: DOL121RB20590,” Federal Business Opportunities, U.S. General Services Administration, Nov. 10, 2009.

[8] The Truth About Project Labor Agreements, “An Apples-to-Apples Comparison of Bid Results for a Federal Project Bid With and Without a Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreement (PLA),” TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, April 18, 2013.

[9]PLA/NoPLA Bid Results,” TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, Sept. 9, 2009. See also, “Taxpayers win big without federal project labor agreement on New Hampshire Job Corps Center,” TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, April 24, 2013, .

[10] Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, “Administrative Directive No. 12-05: Use of Project Labor Agreement for State Construction Projects,” May 22, 2012, .

[11] Bill 37, 2019, PDF See also HTM.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT