Study Confirms Benefits of Project Labor Agreements

In what is probably the broadest, most detailed study ever conducted on the merits of project labor agreements (PLAs), three academic researchers have concluded that there is no substantial evidence that PLAs reduce the number of bidders or change the costs of construction projects. These findings serve to refute the bogus claims by the Associated Builders and Contractors and their allies in the “worker exploitation” sector of the construction industry that many contractors avoid bidding on projects with PLAs, thereby limiting the number of bidders and significantly increasing the cost of the project.


The study, titled Project Labor Agreements, was conducted by Dale Belman, PhD. from Michigan State University, Matthew Bodah, PhD. from the University of Rhode Island, and Peter Philips, PhD. from the University of Utah, confirms our claims that PLAs ensure a steady flow of qualified skilled labor to meet the needs of construction users, and to provide safer jobsites. Equally important, the researchers found that PLAs help to achieve wider social and workforce development objectives, such as increased minority and female participation in qualified skilled trades apprenticeship programs; and the recruitment of a new generation of young people into careers in the skilled trades – critical needs in light of the growing skilled labor shortage being experience in the U.S. and Canada.


The study was funded by Electri International – the Foundation for Electrical Construction, Inc.