Project Labor Agreements

What Is a Project Labor Agreement?

A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is a collective bargaining agreement made between labor groups and a project owner or general contractor. It establishes the terms and conditions of labor on a particular construction project to avoid costly work stoppages.

PLAs standardize working rules on a project to ensure all workers operate under the same rules, making jobs run more smoothly. They benefit workers as well, as workers are afforded a chance to earn fair wages, healthcare, and retirement benefits in exchange for their labor on a project.

Project Labor Agreements are often used on publicly funded projects, but they are also common in the private sector.


Project Labor Agreements Benefit Local Taxpayers

When PLAs are used on publicly funded projects, they are in the best interest of taxpayers as well as workers and contractors.

PLAs set terms to deal with labor disputes if they arise, which avoids the possibility of a labor strike and guarantees that the project will be completed on time. A timely project protects the investment of taxpayers in their city and state.

Project Labor Agreements Ensure Quality Work

PLAs ensure that only highly skilled and properly trained tradesmen and tradeswomen are employed on the project. This means that the workforce has completed the required training and earned the necessary industry-specific certifications to perform the work.

By hiring a trained and certified workforce, project owners and general contractors can be assured that work will be performed efficiently and the project will be completed on time or ahead of schedule.


Project Labor Agreements Improve Safety for MSPTA and United Association Members

As a condition of a PLA, the project owner or general contractor and the labor force can agree to safety standards for the project. This often means that tradesmen and tradeswomen must undergo specific safety training, refresh their understanding of project-specific OSHA requirements, or obtain additional safety certifications.

For example, a PLA to perform work within a hospital may require workers to earn an Infection Control Risk Assessment (IRCA) certification.

These conditions of PLAs improve the safety of the job site, reducing the potential for accidents, hazards, and deaths. This protects workers from harm and helps avoid work delays and unexpected costs for the project owner.

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