The author of a recent letter, "PLAs restrict growth, drive up project costs," can be forgiven for providing readers with only one side of the construction issue. He is a non-union electrical contractor. Hence, we take into account his own interests when he claims that Project Labor Agreements with Erie County cost taxpayers "at least 20 percent more."
The facts, however, do not bear him out. According to Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority figures, the bidding by unionized construction firms on the new airport construction came in $11 million under NFTA estimates.
What is more, the wages on this particular PLA project went to local workers, not out-of-towners or illegal aliens, as is sometimes the case with non-union construction companies.
The electrical contractor portrays local union workers as being "just small special-interest groups that make a lot of noise." In reality, the PLA requires that at least one quarter of the local workers be either women or minorities.
PLAs serve the public interest in two ways. They save the taxpayers money and provide just wages for a broad element of our society.
Thomas Grace Amherst