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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
ABC Hawaii Chapter Blasts Abercrombie’s PLA Directive
By News Release @ 1:15 PM :: 4937 Views :: Energy, Environment

Updated: ABC Hawaii Chapter Blasts Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s PLA Directive

ABC Hawaii Chapter Blasts Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s PLA Directive

From May 29, 2012

On Tuesday, May 22, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) continued putting bread on Big Labor’s table by issuing an administrative directive requiring the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on five upcoming construction projects with a total estimated cost of $520 million.

As of today, the administration has not released the directive itself, or the rationale for selecting these projects, to the public for review.

Despite the lack of transparency on the specifics surrounding this directive, Gov. Abercrombie has not been shy about promoting it. On Tuesday, he held a press conference with union leaders during which he touted the directive as a job creator.

But Honolulu’s KOHN2 got to the crux of Gov. Abercrombie’s directive with the headline of its story covering the press conference: “State Ensures Union Jobs.” This order is designed to funnel these projects to contractors willing to cave into Big Labor’s demands, at the expense of taxpayers and the 67 percent of Hawaii’s construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor union.

Associated Builders and Contractors’ Hawaii Chapter blasted Gov. Abercrombie’s blatant Big Labor handout in a May 23 press release:

ABC Hawaii Chapter Blasts Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s Effort to Funnel State Construction Projects to Big Labor

Honolulu – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Hawaii Chapter today strongly criticized Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his decision to issue an administrative directive that mandates the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on state construction projects.

“This directive is a clear handout to construction union bosses,” said ABC Hawaii Chapter President Jonathan Young. “Gov. Abercrombie says he is concerned about jobs, but this directive shows he only cares about workers if they come with a union card.”

PLAs are a Big Labor scheme used to discourage competition from nonunion contractors and their workers by requiring that construction projects be awarded only to contractors and subcontractors that agree to recognize unions as the representatives of their employees on that job; use the union hall to obtain workers; obey the union’s restrictive apprenticeship and work rules; and contribute to union pension plans and other funds in which their nonunion employees will never benefit unless they join a union.

When a government entity requires a PLA on a construction project, it tilts the playing field in favor of contractors that agree to Big Labor’s demands. This directive will mean that the 67 percent of Hawaii’s construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor union cannot compete on an equal basis for projects funded by their own tax dollars.

Additionally, PLA mandates deprive taxpayers of the opportunity to get the best construction at the best price. Numerous studies show that PLA mandates can increase construction costs by nearly 20 percent.

“By requiring PLAs on taxpayer-funded projects in order to repay a political ally, Gov. Abercrombie’s mandate will effectively force taxpayers to buy four buildings for the price of five and deprive quality local craftspeople of the opportunity to work on projects funded by their own tax dollars,” said Young. “This is a terrible policy for the people of Hawaii. ABC and its members urge Gov. Abercrombie to repeal this policy immediately, so both policymakers and the general public can learn more about what PLA mandates mean for Hawaii’s taxpayers and its construction workforce.”

Here at, we look forward to reading the actual directive and learning more about how the five projects listed in the directive were selected.


Related: Abercrombie: Only Hawaii Union Contractors May Bid on State Jobs



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