The first thing that nonunion construction firms should consider before bidding on projects involving project labor agreements (PLAs), said Goldberg Segalla’s Sean P. Beiter, is that they shouldn’t be required to sign a joint-employer benefit agreement or join a joint-employer fund.
Sean spoke to Construction Dive to provide his expert commentary on labor issues in the construction market in light of potential changes that might develop under the Biden administration. “Those things could be potentially underfunded and could result in the withdrawal liability,” he said. “A good project labor agreement that’s been negotiated by someone with experience should have a provision that provides that the employers who signed the [PLA] are not required to sign any other documents.”
Sean, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Employment and Labor and Commercial Litigation and Arbitration practices, also discussed manning clauses in PLAs, which include work and overtime rules, local hiring requirements, stipulations about how much of a contractor’s crew has to be hired through a human, and exceptions to the same.
Sean also addressed deal breakers that could send nonunion contractors in the other direction when presented with an opportunity to work on a project with a PLA. He said these decisions typically depend on the strength of the company’s superintendent and project management team.
“A lot of nonunion contractors aren’t going to want to expose their nonunion crews to working side-by-side with tried-and-true union employees who will try to organize them the whole time that they’re there,” he said.
“What Contractors Need to Know About PLAs in Light of Biden Presidency,” Construction Dive, November 17, 2020
Sean P. Beiter concentrates his practice on the area of traditional labor law for private and public sector employers in the health care, public safety, construction, manufacturing, transportation, education, office, professional, blue-collar, and white-collar settings. His practice focuses on counseling employers in the development of comprehensive strategies and approaches for success in labor-management relationships and disputes. He represents employers in collective bargaining negotiations, contract administration, grievance arbitration, and before the National Labor Relations Board and the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. Sean has also represented many employers in numerous disciplinary procedures in various forums, mediations, contract dispute arbitrations, and in compulsory interest arbitration proceedings. He has represented employers during strikes, lockouts, and a myriad of picketing disputes.