Loudoun County Gov’t to Explore Project Labor Agreements

Loudoun County staff members will study the feasibility of a program that would require contractors seeking to work on county government projects to permit collective bargaining.

Supervisors Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg), Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn) and County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) brought the proposal to study project labor agreements to the board. Some supervisors argued the agreements could give the county a leg up in winning federal funding for transportation projects.

“Other counties have already incorporated the PLA approach, they are becoming more competitive at getting federal funds than we currently are, and for those reason I think this would be a good way to go,” Umstattd said.

Some also argued it’s simply better to ensure workers are paid a living wage.

But others were concerned about the idea pushing costs on Loudoun County taxpayers up even higher, at a time when county capital projects are coming in over budget. Supervisors Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) pointed to a workforce shortage and rising construction costs. And he said most construction workers are not unionized.

“There are certain things associated with a government PLA that make it just very difficult for contractors to comply, and really limit your pool at a time when that’s the opposite of what we should be doing, because we will be having trouble even getting folks to bid on some of our projects,” he said.

“It’s one thing to be a union shop or have unions and let people come to the table and let people collectively bargain. It’s another to say, hey, we’re going to limit the projects we put together as a county,” agreed Supervisor Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin).

County staff members are expected back by January 2023 with a report including the types of projects best suited for a county project labor agreement; information for the timeline and process to implement a project labor agreement; options for tailoring a Loudoun County agreement such as hiring locally, contracting with minority-owned businesses, or guaranteeing timely project completion; and any federal grants including through the Infrastructure Investment where Loudoun might be at an advantage with project labor agreements.

Some supervisors also already have some upcoming projects in mind for project labor agreements, such as the upcoming Farmwell Road intersection work between Smith Switch Road and Ashburn Road. Construction on that is expected to begin in 2023.

Supervisors voted 6-3 on April 19 to direct county staff to prepare that report, with Letourneau, Kershner and Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) opposed.

9 thoughts on “Loudoun County Gov’t to Explore Project Labor Agreements

  • 2022-05-05 at 10:52 am
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    Leftist democrats push for unions contacts. Costs soar. Leftist democrats get campaign “donations” from said unions (AKA kickbacks). Loudoun taxpayers get a good kick in the gut and checkbook. See how this works?

  • 2022-05-05 at 10:56 am
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    Oh yes, there’s the magic sentence….”other counties have already incorporated…” This Board has shown time and time again their intense power envy of others counties to the point where I, at least, think of them as the “Me Too Board”. Rarely (never) have they followed up that sentence with one indicating that they have made any attempt to determine if any of their monumentally poor ideas relate in any way to the operation of Loudoun County, nor has there been any indication of any original thought process.

  • 2022-05-05 at 1:01 pm
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    Loudoun County has THE highest property taxes in the state and is one of the most expensive places to live in the state. And the Democrats want to make it even more expensive! Inflation…what inflation? We are all wealthy fat cats and have money to burn on wasteful pet projects for Democrats.

  • 2022-05-05 at 4:20 pm
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    I know some folks are very wary of unions. But I don’t hold to that school of thought. Unions help create better working conditions, resulting in a better work product. They’re not to be feared. Yes, there’s bad in any organization. But we shouldn’t single out unions for demonization. Happy Cinco de Mayo Loudoun!

    • 2022-05-06 at 10:09 am
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      Unions almost destroyed the American automobile industry, resulting in horrible products for years. Why do you think foreign automobiles gained such a huge foothold in the USA; it was because of the UAW. Ford used to stand for “Found on Road Dead” or “Fix or Repair Daily.” If you don’t remember those days, no worries; it’s simply a matter of age.
      Now, if you work in a uranium mine, you should have a union to help with safety but the average worker doesn’t need a union. Quality work by the individual moves them up, not being part of the herd. Forcing a vendor to have collective bargaining will increase the cost of every project almost without exception and the product won’t be any better.
      George Bernard Shaw supposedly commented something to the effect that “Youth is Wasted on the Young.” If you are under 50 and did not study history in school, you do not understand the depth of damage unions are capable of doing with regards to project or item cost. I reiterate, dangerous professions like mining need unions because of safety; it is paramount in those professions to do the very best for the workers. As for the rest, use your talents and skills to move forward and not rely on others to carry you along.

  • 2022-05-05 at 5:34 pm
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    Has the Board of Supervisors lost their mind, yes they have.

    They keep drilling it to the citizens and increasing the costs for projects and raising taxes on the citizens of LOCO.

    Remember this at election time

  • 2022-05-05 at 9:20 pm
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    Loudoun’s “leaders” have zero interest in containing costs which will be borne by taxpayers.
    None whatsoever.
    We deserve better.

  • 2022-05-06 at 7:14 am
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    Another study, yikes!
    Remember the Potomac Bridge study, 9-0 vote that did…nothing but cost $300,000.00
    the Sherriff versus police department study, was that $500,000.00
    how about a study on where are taxpayer dollars are spent by the Board of Supervisors on pet charities? How about a study on School Board spending or for that matter the Commonwealth Attorney’s office?
    BTW where does the government get the money for their favorite charity, reduced price housing subsidy, maybe they could have used the 3 plus million dollars they spent on renaming roads to help run water to Broad Run Farms, you know where that pesky Superfund site is they did another study on.

  • 2022-05-10 at 12:15 pm
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    Another study at the taxpayers expense. Is this why the BOS feels the need to compete for federal funds? To pay for efforts that provide no value added results?

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