What is a project labor agreement?

What does a Project Labor Agreement mean to pipe trades members?

A Project Labor Agreement, or PLA, is a tool used to help save money on a project. It is an agreement made between labor groups and a project owner or general contractor to establish the terms and conditions of labor on a particular construction project. These agreements help resolve any labor issues at the bargaining level and prevent costly work stoppages.

PLAs ensure that tradesmen and tradeswomen are afforded a chance to earn quality wages, healthcare and retirement benefits in exchange for their labor on a project.

While Project Labor Agreements are often used on publicly funded projects, they are also common in the private sector as well.

How do PLAs benefit local taxpayers?

When PLAs are used on publicly funded projects, they become tools that protect the investment of taxpayers.

Oftentimes, there is language in a PLA designed to manage labor disputes, should one arise. This language removes the possibility of a labor strike and keeps the project on-time.

PLAs ensure quality labor is used throughout a project

A Project Labor Agreement ensures only highly skilled and highly trained building trades members are used to complete a project. This includes a workforce that has completed required skill training and has earned the requisite industry-specific certifications to properly perform the work. By hiring only a properly trained workforce, project owners and general contractors can be assured the work required will be efficiently performed, helping the project finish on time or ahead of schedule.

PLAs reduce safety risks for United Association and SWPTA members

As a condition of a PLA, the project owner, general contractor and labor can agree to safety standards. Often, this means tradesmen and tradeswomen must undergo specific safety training, brush up on project specific OSHA requirements, or it may require that labor acquire additional safety certifications. For instance, a PLA to perform work within a hospital may include an Infection Control Risk Assessment (IRCA) certification.

By requiring all tradesmen and tradeswomen to go through safety training and agree to follow all safety guidelines, the jobsite will be safer, which reduces the potential for accidents, hazards and deaths – all which can shut down a site and cause the work schedule to fall behind. Not only is a safe jobsite good for workers, but it is also good for the project owner, as it helps to keep the project on schedule, while helping to reduce unexpected costs.

Scroll to Top