ABC New Mexico Challenges Bernalillo County Ordinance That Would Rig the Bidding Process for Local Contractors

The following is a press release from the New Mexico chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.  The Rio Grande Foundation was vehemently opposed to the County’s adoption of the rule.

The Associated Builders and Contractors of New Mexico is among plaintiffs filing suit challenging Bernalillo County’s community workforce agreement ordinance which would require local contractors to execute a Project Labor Agreement, as a condition of winning taxpayer funded public works construction contracts that exceed $7 million.

This corrupt ordinance requires contractors to employ union labor or force employees to become dues-paying union members. It also compels contractors to pay into a union pension and healthcare fund while working on a county construction project. “

This scheme is a handout for organized labor forced upon our construction community and workforce, more than 90% of which chooses not to join a union.” said ABC New Mexico President & CEO, Carla Kugler. “Employees will never see the benefits of this ordinance unless they stay unionized.” “Mandating PLAs is nonsense, discriminates against non-union firms and workers and is anti-competitive, unfair and a violation of state and federal law.”

Bottom Line: The county’s community workforce agreement rigs the bidding process for New Mexico’s construction community by violating the fundamental rights of contractors, subcontractors, and their employees under the first and fourteenth amendments and the National Labor Relations Act.

Project labor agreements drive up the costs for construction projects. Studies of government mandated PLAs in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Ohio found that PLAs increased the costs on non-federal projects funded by federal, state, and local tax dollars perhaps more than 20% per project, needlessly cost hardworking taxpayers. Twenty-four states have outlawed or restricted government-mandated PLAs, ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded projects and ultimately resulting in savings to taxpayers and more opportunities and jobs for all qualified local small businesses, minorities, and women in the construction

The lawsuit seeks to permanently prohibit the county from enforcing its community workforce agreement. Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association representing more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy to provide
equal opportunities to all contractors and workers. ABC works to help employer members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitability for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work.

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