A special Massachusetts state commission recently confirmed what the IBEW has been saying for decades: project labor agreements work.


In its report, the special commission on the use of project labor agreements in road, bridge, and rail projects found PLAs promote quality, prevent labor disputes and help projects finish on time and under budget.

“The commission recommends the use of a PLA for any public infrastructure project,” said the report. [We] found PLAs to be particularly beneficial on [large] public infrastructure projects.”

Project labor agreements are pre-hire, project specific agreements that govern wages and working standards on construction projects.

The commission was established in 2012. The five-member body was appointed by top state officials.

The commission took testimony from industry experts, studying more than 20 years of PLA case studies. 

Among the report’s key findings:

  • PLAs keep projects on time, streamlining the construction process and resolving disputes quickly, helping project completion.
  • PLAs save money by keeping projects on schedule, preventing unnecessary overruns.
  • PLAs prevent labor strife by giving employers and employees the tools to bargain collectively.

The commission also found that PLAs aren’t just appropriate for large-scale projects – smaller jobs can also benefit, citing a recent PLA-governed construction project for the Braintree school system that cost less than $25 million.

“The commission’s findings confirm what the evidence has always shown,” said Massachusetts Building Trades Council President Frank Callahan. “PLAs are a time-tested business tool that has been used successfully in both the private and public sectors to deliver quality construction, on-time and on-budget.”

Click here to read the report.