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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 Assembly today.
“More and more towns are beginning the construction phase of the Sandy recovery process, which means we need to act as quickly as possible so that these jobs can go to people in New Jersey,” said Sweeney. “New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains well above the national average and largely unchanged in three years. That means our middle class continues to struggle in a state with a high cost of living. 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 begin the process of recovering from the unprecedented devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, we have to make sure that it is New Jersey workers who are doing the rebuilding," said Senator Norcross. "The fact is that the state's 9.6 percent unemployment rate remains among the highest in the nation and in some construction trades the jobless rate has reached a staggering 50 percent. We cannot sit back and allow out-of-state workers to take jobs that are desperately needed for our residents. This is about putting New Jersey first."
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 governor’s desk.
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