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Letter to the editor: Setting the record straight on government-mandated PLAs


I would like to correct the record in one case and add to it in another. First, to correct the record.

John Mielke

John Mielke

In a recent opinion piece by the labor official Dave Branson supporting the use of PLAs, Mr. Branson incorrectly described the legislation being offered by state Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, as “prohibiting the use of project labor agreements on taxpayer funded projects.”

In fact, the proposed legislation does no such thing. The bill is about requiring government to be neutral regarding the use of project labor agreements. The legislation simply says that governments can neither require nor prohibit the use of project labor agreements. It leaves that decision to the private parties involved in the project.

If PLAs deliver on all the promises their proponents claim, construction companies performing the work would adopt a PLA voluntarily and those companies would also be in the best position to negotiate the terms of that agreement. Fairness and neutrality in awarding taxpayer-funded construction projects should not be a subject of controversy.

Now to add to the record. Mr. Branson talks of “low road” contractors who support the idea of prohibiting government-mandated project labor agreements. What he fails to mention is that nearly all the major national construction trade associations, including the ones who represent the companies that employ Mr. Branson’s members, oppose government-mandated PLAs. I hope those were not the “low road” contractors he was referring to.

John Mielke
president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin


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