A bill allowing public entities to require the use of project labor agreements cleared the House of Representatives Monday and will now head to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk.
The legislation, which passed the Senate last week with bipartisan support, easily passed the House in a 109-37 vote.
The permissive language, which allows labor unions to negotiate working conditions, was added to a bill allowing construction companies to both design and build highway projects. PLAs are pre-hiring agreements that cover the terms and conditions of a construction project.
Proponents of the agreements argue that they ensure work and safety standards and facilitate the timely completion of projects. However, others say the agreements favor labor unions at the expense of non-union contractors.
“Municipalities tend to save more money by the use of PLAs by having that extreme workforce that is handy and also by having a no-strike clause in there, which advances the construction of the project to move more quickly,” Rep. Antonio Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, said.
But some Republican lawmakers disagreed, saying PLAs make construction projects more costly. Rep. Tony D’Amelio, R-Waterbury, used the construction of Waterbury City Hall as an example of a project that came in under budget and on time because it didn’t use a project labor agreement.
Debate over the bill was briefly side-tracked by discussion of the New Britain-to-Hartford busway after Rep. Whit Betts, R-Bristol, proposed an amendment that would have scrapped the project and redirected the funds to infrastructure investments. Sen. Joseph Markley offered a similar amendment to a different transportation bill last month. Both amendments were defeated.
Following the bill’s passage, Malloy issued a statement thanking House leadership for “their clear commitment to ensuring that thousands of hardworking men and women in the building trades have good-paying jobs.”