On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), we urge the West Valley Mission Community College District Trustees defer consideration of any Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for future construction projects. By way of background, The SVO is the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing 1,400+ companies that employ nearly 300,000 workers and we represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.
If a PLA is implemented at the community college district and a merit shop is granted the contract, they would not able to use their own skilled and trained journey-workers and apprentices (including minorities, veterans, and those employees formerly incarcerated). Instead, they must attempt to perform the work using workers sent by a union hall that the company has no previous experience working with. In other words, merit shops are immediately at a disadvantage if a PLA policy is implemented.
When merit shop contractors bid work, they bid based on what they know their crews can perform. Their bids are based on their crew’s talent, training, experience, commitment to quality, and track record of performing work safely and ethically. It is wrong for the West Valley Mission CCD to force contractors to have their own skilled, trained, and certified workers miss out on work that they have spent their careers performing. This forces the contractor to potentially use someone with a different (potentially lower) skill set or ability, with no history with the company.