On April 17, Wisconsin became the 23rd state to adopt legislation or executive action against controversial project labor agreements (PLAs) on state, state-assisted and local construction projects.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a supporter of the move, applauded Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) for signing Act 3 that prohibits the government from mandating PLAs, noting that the move guarantees “that the almost three out of four members of Wisconsin’s private construction workforce who have chosen not to join a labor union can work on projects funded by their own tax dollars.”
Dating back to the 1930s, there have been battles over the use of PLAs, with movements both pro and con. The most recent movement to eliminate them has been brewing since 2009 on state and local levels. It has now moved to the federal level with introduction of the Fair and Open Competition Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and a companion bill in the U.S. Senate in late March.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed legislation on April 13 that codifies his 2011 executive order guaranteeing government neutrality toward PLAs. In 2015, West Virginia became the 22nd state to ban government-mandated PLAs. Its governor, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was the first Democratic governor to sign such a bill.