Before the use of project labor agreements, Cedar Rapids residents could drive by the parking lot of any public works construction site and see row upon row of out-of-state license plates. These out-of-state workers were regularly funneled in as cheap labor to work on Iowa taxpayer-funded construction projects, leaving Iowa workers unemployed and taking money away from local economies.
A primary benefit of PLAs has always been to increase the number of local workers hired, regardless of their union status. PLAs ensure that Iowa workers are hired for local jobs, boosting both employment rates and local Iowa economies.
Contrary to recent rhetoric from special interest groups, PLAs are vital tools that can ensure Iowans get the most bang out of each tax dollar spent on public construction projects. They promote the timely and on-budget completion of projects, while also ensuring that Iowans are the first to receive the well-paying jobs created by projects — a well-deserved benefit since the projects are funded by Iowan tax dollars.