A lawsuit filed in March 2019 by the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (MN ABC) challenging Project Labor Agreements or PLAs was quietly and voluntarily dismissed. 

Upon hearing the news Dan McConnell, the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council’s business manager stated that, 

“This lawsuit was yet another failed attempt by the MN ABC to intimidate school districts, which are increasingly using Project Labor Agreements to help keep construction projects on time and on budget while maximizing benefits to local families.” 

Project Labor Agreements have been upheld numerous times in venues across the United States. 

According to the AFL-CIO, PLA’s,” govern terms and conditions of employment for all craft workers—union and non-union—on a construction project. They protect taxpayers by eliminating costly delays due to labor conflicts or shortages of skilled workers.”

PLA’s often establish goals or requirements for the inclusion of small businesses, minority contractors, and businesses that meet disability requirements. In including local workforce development goals, PLA’s are tools that encourage diverse workforces..

ABC is a national US trade association representing the non-union construction industry.  The MN Chapter of ABC was joined in this litigation by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a conservative nonprofit legal organization that has participated in anti-union litigation around the country.  Founded in 1973, PLF is the oldest conservative public interest law firm in the United States.

MN ABC did not respond to a request for comment. PLF did respond, “we don’t have a comment.”

MN ABC and Pacifica argued that arguing that the district is violating free speech and due process by hiring only union workers.

“While the plaintiffs are not commenting about their reasons for withdrawing this lawsuit, it appears the Pacific Legal Foundation pulled out once they saw the information the Minneapolis School District and Minneapolis Building Trades put together on the process and the benefits of PLAs, realizing the claims made by Laketown Electric and the MN Chapter of the ABC are without merit and decided to stop throwing good money after bad.

McConnell said.

Last March in response to the plaintiff’s claims McConnell referred to the lawsuit, which contends that PLAs are unconstitutional, as misguided. 

“Anyone can bid on these jobs under a PLA, both union and non-union,” said McConnell. “It ensures projects are done with safe and skilled labor. Most high profile jobs in the state and around the country are done under PLAs and for good reason because they ensure the quality of labor you need and they help to ensure the work gets done on time and on or under budget. We help build communities and grow our economy.”  

Billions of dollars worth of  construction projects are built each year under PLAs, including significant projects in Minnesota ranging from the 35W Bridge to the US Bank Stadium

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