Wednesday, October 27, 2010


UPDATE:  10/27/2010 AT 9:30 AM


Martin, I read your blog this morning and only one important thing in my opinion is the fact this type of agreement does not effect labor costs. All Public projects must be bid at prevailing wage! Union or Non Union. It does not subject non union contractors to pay union wages because prevailing wage is prevailing wage and both sides have an equal opportunity to get work.  Again, it is my opinion that this type of agreement will allow Plain Township specify that the labor force is local PERIOD! Why in the world in todays economic climate would we spend local tax dollars and send those tax dollars away from Stark County to an out of county or state contractor.  We have a responibility when we use our tax payers dollars to put our local work force to work first so those dollars come back to the area.

This discussion took place over several weeks, it was not something that was brought up that night and just passed, I feel it is my responsibility as an elected leader to make sure that the lion's share of our tax dollars on these projects stay local and help our local economy, not some other counties. 


Republican Plain Township Trustee Scott Haws says that Democrats Louis Giavasis and Al Leno jammed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) biasing the township in favor of unions at the expense of Plain's taxpayers was done at the October 12th meeting of trustees.

Giavasis responds that the "jamming down" is utter nonsense and what's more Project Labor Agreements save taxpayer money.

To the SCPR, the truth of the matter is that both pro-union forces (usually Democrats who get favored with union campaign financing) and anti-union groups (usually Republicans who are predominantly favored by campaign contributions of contractors and businesses generally) are trying to tilt the public sector towards the side that favors them.

Recently, the Stark County passed a PLA resolution.  Guess what?  All three commissioners are Democrats.  Go figure, no?

Moreover, Canton city government (controlled by Democrats [only one elected Republican - Mark Butterworth/Ward 8]) has entered into a PLA for construction of it new fire station at 25th & Cleveland Avenue.

PLA's could become a new battleground of squabbling between Republicans and Democrats as it is likely that more Republicans will be elected to countywide office next week (Janet Creighton as commissioner, for one) and therefore in a position to contest the passing of resolutions mandating PLAs for new construction projects.

Plain township does not presently have a PLA in place, so why the need to pass a PLA resolution as Plain Trustees did on October 12th?

Trustee Giavasis tells the SCPR that the PLA resolution does not bind the township to implement a PLAs.  

Moreover, there is no financial/economic-based answer to this question.

It is sheer politics in the estimation of The Report.  Stark County unions have been pushing PLAs as a matter of policy with Stark County local government units in those venues in which Democrats control.

As Plain Township has been mulling over PLA legislation, union representatives have been showing up at meetings.  Such is also true prior to the county commissioners passing a similar resolution.

Apparently, the union thinking is to get the legislation in place and then as contracts come up to push for utilization of the PLA process on each and every contract.  The goal likely is to create a legal history of using PLAs and then if and when Republicans come to dominate a given unit of local government, they will be hard pressed to defy legal precedent of using the PLAs.  Local governments generally afflicted with the "that's the way we have always done things" mentality.  Unions know this and seem to be exercising foresight to advantage themselves.

The fact that is unions who push for PLAs must mean that they see an advantage in having them.

If, when entities like the Plain trustee and the Stark Commissioners or Canton City Council, a balanced group of contractor/business representatives and union representatives showed up in support of a PLA resolution/legislation, then one could buy the notion that such legislation is interest group neutral.

Trustee Giavasis attacks the Nimishillen Township trustees in his reply to The Report for building its newest fire station without the benefit of a PLA, to wit:
Martin, I feel this type of agreement will put our local contractors to work first, we can specify what percentage must be local, what percentage is union and no union, it prevents cost over runs and it will prevent the same or like financial and construction disaster Nimishillan (sic) Township experienced with their recently constructed fire station. Not only will it prevent the high cost over runs it may prevent the costly litigation they expended to have their problems fixed with that building. We owe it to our tax payers to have the highest quality workmanship and at the most cost effective rate that prevent additional expenses as what happened in Nimishillan (sic) Township ... .
What follows is a chart of the differences between Plain Township Trustees Giavasis and Haws:

As far as the SCPR is concerned, PLAs could be a good thing provided that business (management) and the workforce (unions) would come together and agree on a format and substance (in general) that both benefit from.  In other words, a win-win situation.

There is a mythology in America that "all I want is a fair chance."

The Report wishes such was the case.  But it is not.

In the cases of PLAs unions are trying to advantage themselves over management.

In fighting PLAs outright, rather than sitting down with representatives of organized labor to achieve win-win model PLAs; management is trying to keep in place perceived advantages in not have broad working agreements.

If both groups really cared about the well-being of taxpayers, they would hammer out a template that becomes a win for the working force, a win for business and management and, most importantly of all - A WIN FOR THE TAXPAYER!

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