Big Labor Smackdown; Court Upholds Michigan Ban on Project Labor Agreements

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Big Labor Smackdown; Court Upholds Michigan Ban on Project Labor Agreements


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Labor unions are skilled labor at driving up costs. They use their cozy connections with politicians to legislate schemes giving government agencies no choice but to pay inflated union prices for certain types of projects through project labor agreements. Those agreements may not be around much longer if a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision handed down Friday holds.

In a free market, contracts would be awarded to those willing to do the best work at the best price. That's not the union way, which is to divide up simple tasks so that the man who installs the plumbing can't touch the light switch, ensuring two get paid for doing the job one person could handle. The inefficiency typically drives costs up 20 percent or more. Such contracts are much like agreements that have traditionally been called feather-bedding, and the featherbeds are soft, comfortable and inviting, indeed.

When building a bridge or digging a tunnel can cost billions, that 20 percent adds up to big money. So the reform-minded Michigan Legislature decided in 2011 that it no longer makes sense to hand a hefty share of taxpayer resources to union bosses. It banned state and local project labor agreements, and the unions predictably cried foul, hoping a federal judge would restore their monopoly on providing public services. …

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