Gary DeLong is a Long Beach City Councilman. DeLong was one of two votes on Tuesday night against a Project Labor Agreement.

On Tuesday evening, Long Beach City Council on a 7-2 vote directed the City Manager to develop a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the Long Beach Airport Terminal Project.  Supporters of the PLA state that PLA’s “assist projects in getting completed on time and under budget, with local hiring preference.”

Unfortunately, PLA’s accomplish none of these things.

First, they do not assist projects in being completed on time and under budget.  In reality, they have the potential to increase the cost of projects by reducing competition.  PLA’s effectively eliminate, or significantly reduce, non-union workforces. 

Elected officials support PLA’s because it is a way to reward their union supporters.

Secondly, a local hiring preference can easily be included in the contract between the municipality and the contractor(s).  During the Public Comment section of the Council meeting, several union members lauded the benefits of PLA’s.  However, these same benefits could, and should, be provided via a standard contract between the City and each contractor.

I believe in a level playing field. 

The City should do business in such a manner that it does not discriminate against union or non-union workforces. 

Unfortunately, the City of Long Beach has chosen a path that supports one labor group over another.