Gov. Scott Walker plans on Monday to sign a bill that would prohibit local governments from mandating project-labor agreements in a way that critics say unfairly directs public contracts to union companies.
Walker announced that he will be traveling to Amerilux International at 1212 N. Enterprise Drive in De Pere to sign Senate Bill 3, which was passed out of the state Legislature last month. The signing is to take place at 11:35 a.m.
Proponents of the bill are specifically trying to prevent contractors who plan to bid on public projects from having to first agree to pay into union-run pension and health funds and to turn to local hiring halls to recruit workers. They argue that these requirements discourage non-union companies from competing for public contracts.
They note, for instance, that many non-union contractors already provide pension benefits to their employees. By being required to contribute to union-run funds, they say, non-union companies are essentially being made to pay twice for the same thing.
Opponents of the bill contend that government officials who have seen good results from past uses of mandatory PLAs ought to be allowed to continue requiring them in the future. Their arguments largely hark back to the idea that local governments should be free to control their own affairs.