Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Propagandizing The Right To Work

Considering that the holiday weekend will be upon us in a few days, this is a timely reminder of the battle we must fight to protect our jobs, our benefits, our homes, and our families.

On the last page of the Business section in today’s Bucks County Courier Times, there is a full page ad showing a child looking up sadly at his father, who is wearing a hardhat and a downcast expression, and the caption in huge type says,

“My Daddy CAN’T Work in Bristol (PA) Borough.”
The subcaption states the following: “A construction job should be about value, safety, training and quality and NOT (underscore) about being a member of a union.”

The text of the ad goes on to explain the following:

“The Bristol Borough School Board has agreed to adopt a discriminatory (their word) Union-Only Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for its new K-8 school. This decision means that a majority of local construction workers will be shut out of the opportunity to work on the project. It also means that fewer companies will bid on the work and construction costs will increase dramatically. This is just plan wrong! PLAs discriminate against a majority of Bristol Borough construction workers.”
(By the way, the ad contained a typo in the last sentence – PLAs isn’t possessive, people, it’s plural, so no comma was necessary...yes, I know it’s picky, but it’s important.)

I realize that ads are held to a different standard than other types of newspaper copy, but it may turn out over time that what the ad states in the paragraph above is nothing but fantasy. “A majority of local construction workers,” “fewer companies,” “costs will increase dramatically”...all vague BS.

At the bottom of the ad, it states “for more information…log onto OpenContracting.com”. There is also a logo for Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

So I did (this may take a minute to follow, but it’s worth it).

I have to admit that the site is slick, and there are a lot of text links. Of course, if I were to investigate all of them for something like truth in advertising, I’d be doing nothing else from here to next Tuesday, so it is utterly impossible.

They have a site map that you can click on to find out more information about “discriminatory” PLAs in your state. I did that, and then came to a link where you can read about “’public policy organizations’ in your state.”

One of these organizations is called the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF), which chimes in on PLAs also. I clicked on the link to go to their site, and what do you think I found in the right nav column of their home page?

“Townhall.com Partner”
Well, well, well…

I wonder if the Bucks County Courier Times would be interested to know, or even cares, that they provided a full-page editorial to a conservative policy organization disguised as advertising? Why wasn’t there labeling on the ad indicating as such? Do you expect them to now provide a free full-page ad to the AFL-CIO or an affiliate organization in response?

Somehow, I don’t think that will happen.

Well, then, to read about how PLAs are used effectively in construction projects, click here. Among other findings stated in the article…

PLAs are project-specific agreements, negotiated at the outset of a construction project, setting out the terms and conditions of employment for the duration of the project. Such agreements can help reduce costs while increasing efficiency and quality.


The PLA also ensures that workers on Brightwater are paid a livable wage, receive health and retirement benefits and have safe working conditions and rules.


When implemented, PLAs serve as a risk management tool to manage the uncertainties associated with such projects. PLAs have been used as a project management tool on several large local projects, including Safeco Field, Qwest Field, the Port of Seattle’s Pier 66 and South Airport Terminal, Seattle Public Utilities’ Tolt Treatment Facility, the new downtown Seattle Public Library and Harborview Medical Center.
PLAs ensure that the job is done right the first time and strict cost controls are maintained. To declare war on PLAs is to declare war on the right of American workers to receive fair compensation for their labor.

And is it me, but is it a bit more than a coincidence that this site has sprung up a few months (weeks, really) before the election?

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