Dear Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento City Council members Hansen, Ashby, Harris, Schenirer, Carr, Guerra, Warren, & Jennings:
I am writing to you to strongly urge you to defer action on the proposed citywide Project Labor Agreement mandate in order to give the public and community groups a chance to weigh in. As taxpayers, the public and community groups should always have a voice in the decision making process involving public spending.
PLAs are anti-competitive, government mandated exclusionary labor agreements, specifically excluding non-union labor. The public funding of city construction projects should always be done in an open, fair and competitive process, much as free markets operate, and never exclude any group from bidding where taxpayers are footing the bill.
Additionally, as I am sure you are already aware, PLAs greatly inflate the cost of construction, and cost taxpayers significantly more on public projects – as much as 50 percent more in far too many cases.
Your proposed PLA mandate would apply to all projects costing more than $1 million, which means even smaller projects, such as work on city parks, would qualify, and inflate the cost egregiously and unnecessarily.
PLAs amount to nothing more than special interest giveaways to labor unions and provide no benefit to taxpayers, or those who will occupy the building space. It is astounding that the Council is trying to hustle this agreement through before any public scrutiny and discussion can be waged — all while touting openness and transparency.
Lastly, while the city and state are laboring under a crippling housing cost crisis and housing shortage, adding a PLA mandate, on top of seemingly limitless construction regulations, to city projects over $1 million, would only serve to provide another barrier to future low-income housing. Before a developer puts a shovel in the ground, fees of $80,000 to $90,000 are tacked on in order to even allow construction. Adding mandatory PLAs to this will only pile on to the construction and housing crisis in this state.
Please consider all of the above before you make this critical vote prematurely. Sacramento taxpayers can only sustain so much before another revolt formulates.
Sacramento Taxpayers Association, President