AFP-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott Submitted Testimony to Assembly Committee on Labor

Jan 24, 2017 by AFP

Bott submitted written testimony to the State Assembly today in support of AB 24 on Project Labor Agreement Neutrality.

MADISON – Earlier today, Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin’s state director Eric Bott submitted testimony to Chairman Kulp and the Assembly Committee on Labor in support of Assembly Bill 24 on Project Labor Agreement Neutrality. AB 24 would bring fairness to public works contracting with a simple change to the law. Under the bill, governmental units would no longer be able to mandate that a business enter a project labor agreement (PLA) as a condition of bidding on a public works project.

Bott issued the following statement:

“AB 24 would finally bring fairness to public works contracting in Wisconsin by making a simple change to the law. I was deeply moved by the testimony of one small business owner who wanted nothing more than to provide work for his employees but could not thanks to our state’s current restrictions. That’s what this bill is all about, giving a fair shot at government work to the majority of Wisconsin construction workers that don’t want to be in a union. We are appreciative of the committee’s time and attention to this important issue.”

You can read Bott’s full testimony below:

FROM: Eric Bott, Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director
TO: Chairman Kulp, Honorable Members of Assembly Committee on Labor
RE: Support For Assembly Bill 24 – Project Labor Agreement Neutrality

On behalf of the more than 130,000 Americans for Prosperity activists in Wisconsin, I would like to thank Representatives Hutton and Kitchens and Senators Vukmir and Olsen for authoring this legislation. We would also like to offer our sincere thanks to Chairman Kulp, Vice-Chairman Kuglitsch, and the members of the committee for taking testimony today.

Assembly Bill (AB) 24 is as straightforward as legislation comes. It seeks to bring fairness to public works contracting with a simple change to the law. Under the bill, governmental units would no longer be able to mandate that a business enter a project labor agreement (PLA) as a condition of bidding on a public works project.  In other words, powerful politicians could no longer deny the vast majority of Wisconsin contractors and workers the opportunity to compete for government work.  We believe this change will benefit the people of Wisconsin in several ways.

By bringing fairness and free competition to public works contracting, AB 24 will protect Wisconsin workers from unfair discrimination based upon their status as belonging or not belonging to a union. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 86.8% of the nation’s private sector construction workforce is employed by a merit shop or non-union contractor. This legislation will help to ensure that the overwhelming majority of construction workers in Wisconsin have a fair opportunity to work on public projects.

AB 24 will protect taxpayers and stretch public resources further by helping to increase fair competition. It is a long held law of economics that competition reduces costs and improves quality.  In the case of PLAs, the academic literature supports this maxim. Studies have demonstrated the positive effect competitive bidding has on reducing the cost of public works projects including Cornell Professor Paul G. Carr’s heralded report, Investigation of Bid Price Competition Measured through Prebid Project Estimates, Actual Bid Prices, and Number of Bidders.

Conversely, several published reports have specifically found that the reduced competition resulting PLAs drives costs higher. For instance, the Beacon Hill Institute found in a series of studies that PLAs cause between 14 and 18 percent higher construction costs for schools when compared to similar non-PLA projects. A study from the National University Institute for Policy Research found that construction costs for schools in California were 13 to 15 percent greater for PLA projects.

In addition to protecting workers and taxpayers, AB 24 will help level the playing field for small businesses and other merit shop contractors seeking to obtain government contracts.  It’s patently unfair to deny a majority of business owners  the opportunity to obtain government work simply because their employees choose to exercise their right to work outside the confines of a union.

Again, we thank you for your time and consideration of AB 24. We encourage you to take swift action in advancing this bill to the floor of the Assembly. Your support will help protect thousands of Wisconsin workers, level the playing field for small businesses, lower the burden on taxpayers, and reduce opportunities for cronyism.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org
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