PennDOT Announces First-Ever Discriminatory Project Labor Agreement

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

After months of speculation and debate, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has posted its solicitation for bids for the reconstruction of Markley Street (US 202) in Norristown, Montgomery County. The project is a $25 million road reconstruction and includes a project labor agreement (PLA), a pre-hire agreement that is required of all potential bidders that mandates the use of union-only labor.

Months ago, PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards was asked during legislative budget hearings about her potential use of a project labor agreement, and she ardently defended the practice, claiming that PLAs have been shown to decrease change orders and cost overruns. Meanwhile, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission included a PLA in their solicitation for bids for the reconstruction of the Scudder Falls bridge, crossing the Delaware River from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. With a project budget of $325 million, the PLA netted one bidder and a bid of $396 million – more than $70 million over budget.

ABC has strongly denounced the use of PLAs in general and urged the Wolf administration not to utilize this PLA. Strong evidence has routinely shown the detriment of a PLA to not only the project at hand, but to taxpayers in general. This evidence and more detail and can be found at

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