A crew works on a gravel drainage trench for Taxiway C at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in 2018. Photo via FYI

published on March 7, 2019 - 1:07 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Fresno City Council Thursday unanimously voted to begin negotiations on a project labor agreement for the $115 million FATforward project for Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Fresno previously had a ban on city-negotiated project labor agreements (PLAs) from 2000 to 2014. This is only the second city-negotiative PLA, according to a news release from Councilmembers Paul Caprioglio, Esmeralda Soria and Luis Chavez, who sponsored the measure.

PLAs are generally known as pre-hire elective bargaining agreements, traditionally with labor organizations, that establish terms and conditions for completing a project — typically government funded.

According to the resolution the council approved, this PLA would provide uniform wages, benefits, overtime pay, hours, working conditions and rules for work, providing a reliable workforce with predictable cost.

It would include hiring local, economically disadvantaged, pre-apprentice and entry-level workers, as well as veterans and women-owned businesses.

PLAs have proven controversial, with non-union builders and contractors contending they drive up project costs and can shut out local, non-unionized workers for union labor from out of the area.

They have also been used as leverage by labor organizations that oppose projects on environmental grounds to push PLAs on the agencies proposing the projects.

The Fresno City Council approved a PLA in December 2016 to provide a labor force for projects funded by the state Transformative Climate Community Program. GV Wire reported that that PLA passed with a vote of 5-2, with Councilmembers Steve Brandau and then District-7 representative Clint Olivier opposed.

The final terms of the agreement would have to be approved by the city council. The agreement would be established before bidding begins on the project.

Related story: Fresno airport announces major expansion plans

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