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Family-supporting Project Labor Agreements, otherwise known as Community Workforce Agreements or PLAs, are a tried and true way of building the basics of America from the Hoover Dam to the Washington Nationals baseball stadium. These agreements benefit working men and women, contractors, communities and taxpayers by ensuring projects are completed on time and on budget, requiring employee training, and encouraging that public investment benefits local communities.
New American Landmark: Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge
A modern engineering marvel, the recently-opened Hoover Dam Bypass is a new American landmark that rivals the world-famous dam itself. Soaring 900 feet above the Colorado River and built to withstand a 1,000 year earthquake, the four-lane, 19,000 foot long bridge is the longest single-span concrete arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
From the outset, LIUNA Local 872 members were involved in building the iconic landmark, collectively working over 500,000 man hours. LIUNA members did a variety of work on the bridge such as concrete work, drilling and blast work. LIUNA members also did all rock scaling, which entailed securing loose rocks and taking out any dangerous boulders. If and when rocks fell, LIUNA members were responsible for going into the water to pull them out so as not to disturb the water flow.
The bridge was built under a family-supporting project labor agreement (PLA). Project labor agreements, or PLAs, are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements that establish the terms and conditions of employment on one or more construction projects. They are often used by communities, contractors and labor unions to ensure smooth completion of projects. The $240 million project was completed on-time and on-budget. The project also created hundreds of good-paying local jobs and provided a variety of benefits for the workers, the companies and the communities involved.
Project Labor Agreements have helped successfully create some of the world’s most impressive construction and engineering feats:
Project Labor Agreements continue to help build America:
The Dulles Metrorail project is a 23-mile extension of the Washington, DC Metro rapid transit system connecting downtown DC to Dulles International Airport in Virginia. This long-anticipated, new and convenient rail line provides many benefits to the region and unites area communities like never before. Operating under a PLA, Phase I of the project was an amazing success story for area taxpayers, businesses and workers. From the start, Phase I was not plagued by the problems that have burdened other large non-PLA projects in the region. For example, the nearby Springfield Interchange – originally a $200 million project – wound up costing taxpayers nearly 300 percent more, five workers died during construction, and only legal action against a contractor gave it a chance of finishing on time. By contrast, the PLA on the Dulles Metrorail kept the project on time and on budget – and without a single worksite death or lost time due to accidents because workers were skilled and well-trained. The PLA also ensured that jobs created by the project were family-supporting jobs with fair wages that flowed back into local communities and to local businesses. With the Dulles Metrorail, locals have expanded local transportation options, businesses are enjoying a variety of economic benefits, and taxpayers are proud of the investment for the future of the region.
The Washington Nationals Stadium
Construction of the $611 million Washington National’s baseball stadium project was a boon for residents of the District of Columbia seeking good jobs and future opportunities. For a community that has historically struggled with high unemployment and too few economic opportunities for minorities, the stadium construction created hundreds of family-supporting jobs with health-care coverage, opened the doors to future advancement with free construction skills training and cleared the layoff benches of experienced construction craft workers. In all, more than $12 million has been returned to District neighborhoods in the form of workers’ steady paychecks. And for the region as a whole, the stadium is a source of pride, finishing on budget and on time—in fact, faster than any Major League baseball stadium in history.