RPLG founding partner, Jon Holtzman, recently completed negotiations for a project labor agreement (PLA) covering the expansion of the Fresno International Airport.  While PLA’s are a relative rarity in the Central Valley, this case is even more unique due to the inclusion of groundbreaking new provisions that do not exist elsewhere in the state to both contain costs and expand the PLA’s impact on workforce development efforts through targeted hiring.

In terms of cost containment, this PLA contains a number of unique features:

  •     A “rule of three” that permits subcontracts to be rebid without PLA coverage if fewer than three bids are received for subcontracted work, and the bids are 10% or more above the engineer’s estimate of the cost of the work;
  •     Transparency provisions applicable to sub-contractor bids and selection;
  •     More favorable core worker provisions allowing non-union contractors expanded ability to use their own existing workers;
  •     A special grievance procedure that may be utilized by the City to enforce the terms of the agreement;
  •     Strong protections for the use of prefabricated materials.

In the area of workforce development, the Agreement includes:

  •     A “carve out” for small and disadvantaged businesses;
  •     Agreements with the unions and apprenticeship programs to utilize pre-apprenticeship programs as a major source for new apprentices;
  •     Provisions that require hiring halls to give disadvantaged workers the ability to go to the top of the referral list;
  •     A requirement that 40% of the apprenticeship work performed will be performed by new apprentices.

These advancements would not have been possible without the outstanding work already being done by the Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings Building and Construction Trades Council (BTC), and its visionary leader Chuck Rojas.

“Jon has an understanding of what building trades are looking for and the needs of each affiliate,” said Rojas, who led the other side of the bargaining table. “He has a good feel for the needs of each affiliate and the trades, as well.”

Significantly, a committee of three Fresno City Council Members, Paul Capriolio, Esmerelda Soria and Luis Chavez, attended and participated in all of the negotiations, and were instrumental in achieving this result.