TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland) and Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden) that would help keep jobs in New Jersey by expanding project labor agreements (PLAs) cleared the full Senate today.
“Construction post-Sandy is already starting to happen, which means we need to act as quickly as possible so that these jobs can go to people in New Jersey,” said Sweeney. “We are staring at an unemployment rate that has remained nearly unchanged in three years. That means families and middle class folks are still in desperate need of jobs. That is why I want to ensure that it is New Jerseyans who are going to be put to work rebuilding the state.”
The bill, S2425, would amend the 2002 law that allowed PLAs for certain kinds of public works contracts. Currently, PLAs are limited only to construction, reconstruction, demolition or renovation of public buildings at the public expense, other than pumping stations or water or sewage treatment plants. This bill would expand that list to include such things as highways, bridges, pumping stations, and water and sewage treatment plants.
"As we look to rebuild our state, it is our responsibility to make sure the reconstruction work goes to New Jersey residents who are suffering under decades-high unemployment, which in the construction trades is upwards of 50 percent," said Norcross. "This is about putting our state first as we begin the process of rebuilding and repairing the devastation from the storm, and recognizing that thousands of our residents are still without jobs. Through this bill, we will put people back to work and provide for more efficient construction of projects. In my view, this is a no brainer."
Project labor agreements are used to resolve, in advance, potential labor disputes that could arise at a project site. Agreements generally contain provisions where a labor organization gives up its right to strike or to conduct slowdowns and agrees to settle all labor disputes through arbitration while continuing to work. In return, the labor organization gains exclusivity on the job.
The legislation now heads to the Assembly.
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