First, in Washington (DC):
U.S. agencies may require contractors on public construction projects to negotiate with labor unions under a rule issued today by the Obama administration.
The rule that takes effect next month lets the government make so-called project labor agreements a requirement for contractors on U.S.-financed construction jobs that exceed $25 million.
Under the order, unions have the ability to bargain for wages, hours and work-rules in exchange for agreeing not to call a strike. Supporters of project-labor agreements say it promotes efficiency on government purchases. Opponents say the arrangements discriminate against the more than 85 percent of construction workers who aren't union members.
"Anti-competitive project labor agreements are special interest kickback schemes," Jim Elmer, national chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors that represents more than 25,000 firms, said in an e-mailed statement.
Meanwhile, across the nation in the other Washington:
Hundreds of residents and business owners who live and work in a modern, 25-story Belltown apartment building were told over the weekend to move out as soon as possible because of major structural flaws found in the building.
The building owner, a Seattle-based venture formed by pension funds and the local carpenters union, said it plans to demolish the high-rise.
The entity, Carpenter's Tower, said it is too expensive to fix all the problems at the 272-unit McGuire Apartments at Second Avenue and Wall Street. Defects include corroding and rusting cables, defective reinforcements in the building's exterior concrete and structural problems, the company said in a news release.
Carpenter's Tower — owned by Carpenters Union, Local 131 and the Multi-Employer Property Trust — said the problems can be traced to construction. In its news release, the company said load-bearing cable ends have corroded because they weren't painted properly, and that builders also used the wrong type of grout, which allowed water to seep in.
Carpenter's Tower sued the contractor, Bellevue's McCarthy Building Companies, and the Seattle-based Hewitt Architects, in 2007, alleging negligence and failure to adhere to industry standards. McCarthy, a subsidiary of a Missouri company, in turn sued dozens of subcontractors. The court file contains thousands of pages of documents, and is scheduled for trial in September in King County Superior Court.
Funny thing is, if that's how unions build buildings that are owned by unions, how good will the construction be using taxpayers' money?
To learn more about discriminatory Project Labor Agreements, go here.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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