Ohio Anti-PLA Law Upheld

An Ohio court of Appeals has upheld an Ohio law limiting costly and discriminatory union-only contracts, called project labor agreements (PLAs), on state-funded construction  projects.  The Eighth District of the Ohio Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio’s Open Contracting Act does not violate the Nat’l Labor Relations Act. The  court’s decision overturned a lower court’s ruling  striking down the law passed by the legislature in 1999.

“PLAs amount to extortion – union officials demand taxpayer handouts and government-granted special privileges in exchange for not ordering strikes or  causing other disruptions,” said Stefan Gleason of the Nat’l Right to Work Fdn.”This is a victory for Ohio taxpayers, workers, and job providers.”

Under union-only PLAs, union-friendly politicians  award contracts on government-funded construction projects only to contractors who agree to force  compulsory unionism on their employees. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; force their employees to pay union dues; use exclusive union hiring halls; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.

Ohio’s state legislature passed HB 101 in 1999 after four union-only construction projects generated massive cost overruns. Union bosses almost immediately challenged the new law in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, which issued an injunction stopping enforcement of the law. The appeals court ruling now clears the way for  enforcement of the law.  [NRTW Media Release 10/2/01]