Project Labor Agreements: A Costly Way to Build Schools in Ohio

BOSTON, MA –Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), which effectively limit public projects to union contractors, have increased construction costs when applied to school building projects in Ohio, according to a new study released today by the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI).

There are two costs to consider in assessing the effects of PLAs – the actual construction costs and the winning bids. BHI found that PLAs increase actual construction costs by $23.12 (or 13.12%) per square foot. They increase the winning bids by $25.06 (or 15.55%) per square foot.

PLAs are collective bargaining agreements between public and private entities and construction unions that require the hiring of all workers, including non-union workers, through union halls. They require that all workers follow union rules for the project. In exchange for the builder’s willingness to enter into a PLA, unions on the project pledge not to strike or to pursue any other job actions.  Read more here.

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