Boston Herald Editorial Calls Attention to Minority Participation Concerns 

 

ABC MA is fighting to remove a project labor agreement (PLA) that has been added to bonding legislation to finance the construction of a new Holyoke Soldiers Home (H 3701).   Recent developments include the Boston Herald publishing an op-ed on 4/16  highlighting the impact of the PLA on minority participation as the bill moves to the Senate after initial passage in the House.

 

ABC strongly supports the reconstruction of the Holyoke Soldiers home but believes it should be done without a PLA.  PLAs require that all labor must come from the unions, which effectively shuts out open shop contractors.  According to unionstats.com, in 2020 the Massachusetts construction workforce was 83.5 percent non-union.  ABC strongly opposes PLAs as discriminatory and costly due to their limiting open shop competition.  

 

The Herald editorial quoted from a letter to legislators by John B. Cruz of Cruz Construction, a member of the ABC MA Board of Directors.  “Whether it’s in Holyoke, Worcester or Boston, the results will be the same,” Cruz wrote. “If you make construction projects union-only, open shop nonunion minority contractors and workers are effectively shut out.”  The Herald also quoted ABC MA President Greg Beeman, who said, “Open shop contractors, unlike their union counterparts, do not use labor pools and hiring halls. They have their own employees who they hire, train and develop.”

 

The focus on the PLA’s and minority participation comes on the heels of a recent report by WGBH this month that found that Worcester’s Polar Park, the home of the Red Sox new minor league team that was built under a union-only deal, had less than 1% of the construction work done by certified minority-owned businesses. 

 

With the bill now to be taken up by the Senate, ABC will continue to fight to remove the PLA and allow all qualified contractors and all construction workers, open shop and union, to participate.  ABC is in discussion with organizations representing minority businesses to ensure they are aware and can weigh in.  “It we want more minority participation, and participation in general, the last thing we want to do is to limit who can take part to the less than 20 percent of the industry that is unionized,” said Beeman.  

 

The legislation was filed by Gov. Charlie Baker without a PLA.  The Baker Administration has advocated that the PLA be removed.  Watch for additional information.  If you have questions, please contact Greg Beeman at [email protected].  

 

Read More

     Boston Herald Editorial: Diversity ownership vies with labor unions for building contracts

     GBH Article: Worcester Spent More Than $100 Million Building Polar Park. Minority Companies Got Peanuts

     Commonwealth Magazine Op-ed : Union requirement would be setback for new Holyoke Soldiers’Home

     Letter from John B. Cruz to Legislators

     ABC Letter to Legislators