Seattle, Wa. (February 26, 2004) — The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today called upon on the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to fulfill its responsibility to require the re-bidding of the Sound Transit project in Washington state. In his letter to FTA Administrator Jennifer Dorn, Mark Mix, president of the Washington-DC based employee rights advocacy group, lays out the record of how the Central Puget Sound Transit Authority intentionally defied President George W. Bush’s Executive Order (EO) 13202 that bans any requirement that discriminatory, union-only project labor agreements (PLAs) be included in the bid specifications for federally funded construction projects. A PLA is a scheme that requires all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, to subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers, force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment, and force taxpayers to foot the bill for above-market prices resulting from wasteful union work rules, featherbedding, and less competition. Foundation President Mark Mix points out that Sound Transit refused to allow contractors to bid on the first segment of the Sound Transit light rail project in the Ranier Valley unless they agreed to include a discriminatory union-only PLA. Sound Transit’s actions are in violation of the President’s directive, and thus narrowed the pool of bidders on the $110-130 million project to contractors that would agree to the costly union pact. Presidential EO 13202, signed by President Bush in February 2001, prohibits recipients of federal funds from requiring union-only PLAs as a requirement to bid or receive a contract on construction projects. However, the Central Puget Sound Transit Authority outlined PLAs as a requirement for the Ranier Valley project in its Labor Compliance Manual issued in June 2003. Only those companies that agreed to this requirement were allowed to bid on the project. “By prohibiting union-only PLAs, the President advances the principle of voluntary unionism and enhances prudent financial stewardship by encouraging a competitive field of bidders¾both union and merit shop¾for a project, thereby lowering the cost of construction projects for American taxpayers,” stated Mix. “In short, Sound Transit’s actions represent a knowing and deliberate attempt to flout President Bush’s Executive Order.” In addition to requiring all employees working on the project to pay the equivalent of 94% of full union dues as a job condition, under the PLA the project’s contractors will “recognize the union as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of all craft employees.” Contractors also must make contributions to union trust funds from which employees will never obtain benefits and hire workers from union hiring halls.