Union bosses seek to uphold discriminatory system in awarding public contracts
Cincinnati, OH (January 24 2013) – Staff attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation have filed a brief in support of a Michigan law prohibiting state and local government agencies from imposing so-called "project labor agreements" (PLAs) that require unionized workers for public projects.
Foundation staff attorneys filed the amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit located in Cincinnati.
Michigan recently passed a law prohibiting government-mandated PLAs on public construction projects. Shortly thereafter, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council and Genesse, Lapeer, Shiawassee Building and Construction Trades Council union bosses challenged the law in federal court, claiming federal labor law preempts the state's ability to opt out of mandating PLAs on state-funded public construction projects.
National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys – joining attorneys representing the Associated Builders and Contractors and its Michigan affiliate and the National Federation of Independent Business – argue that a lower court's ruling striking down the new PLA law is both radical and insupportable. The lower court held that federal labor law governing private-sector labor relations somehow compels state governments to require the unionization of workers on public projects.
Foundation attorneys also point out the discriminatory nature of PLAs sacrifices workers' rights of free choice and imposes unwanted union representation on workers if they work on a public project.
Foundation attorneys have filed similar briefs in numerous federal courts supporting the constitutionality of state governments repealing PLA mandates.
"Project Labor Agreements effectively discriminate against the 85 percent of all construction workers who are not under union monopoly control," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "State and local governments owe it to the taxpayers to award public construction contracts to those who will do the best work at the best price, not employers who work with bureaucrats to shove a union down their workers' throats."