Concrete Products

APR 2012

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS CP STAFF UNIONS CHEER COURT'S PLA STANCE ROMNEY MERITS ABC NOD PHOTO: Christopher Barr In perhaps the first such move this campaign season by a major national construction group, Associated Builders and Contractors endorsed Republican presidential candidate and former Mas- sachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "[His] election is a top priority for the commercial and industrial con- struction industry and the millions of Americans it employs," said 2012 ABC Chairman Eric Regelin, president of Granix LLC in Ellicott City, Md. "He has articulated a clear position on is- sues important to ABC members, in- cluding opposing federally mandated project labor agreements." The U.S. District Court for the Eastern Dis- trict of Michigan, Detroit, has struck down the state's "Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act" (Public Act 98) curtailing local government units' abil- ity to exercise project labor agreements (PLAs) on construction contracts. Federal Judge Victoria Roberts ruled that PA 98 "impermissibly interferes with the comprehensive regulatory scheme" per the National Labor Relations Act. Signed in July 2011 by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, "Fair and Open Competition" prohibited local communities from enter- ing into a contract that "requires, pro- hibits, encourages, or discourages bidders, contractors, or subcontractors from enter- ing into or adhering to agreements with a collective bargaining organization relat- ing to the construction project or other related construction projects." "We warned the Legislature [PA 98] in- terfered with federal labor law," said at- torney John Canzano, who challenged the state law on behalf of the Michigan Build- ing and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), representing about 100,000 rank & file. "PLAs are essentially a form of col- lective bargaining, and Gov. Snyder and the legislature attempted to limit union rights under federal labor law." Michigan BCTC and Genesee, Lapeer, Shiawassee BCTC challenged PA 98 in Michigan District Court in August. Judge Roberts heard two hours of oral arguments and took additional briefs in the case. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office argued to uphold the law. PLAs can vary from one contract to an- other, but generally establish wage rates and hours, while typically prohibiting strikes or lockouts. They can also include language that spells out standards for safety or skills training for workers, plus drug and alcohol testing requirements. "We applaud the court's decision," said Michigan BCTC President Zane Walker. "It's clear that Republican lawmakers saw Public Act 98 as a way to interfere in the workings of local communities. Republicans in Lans- ing wanted to dictate how municipalities establish their bidding practices and how they should run their community business. Project labor agreements work." 8 | APRIL 2012 WWW.CONCRETEPRODUCTS.COM

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