If you’re a football fan, tonight’s the night. The first game of the 2012 National Football League season—between the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys—will kick off at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
There’s plenty of excitement about the football matchup (even with replacement workers subbing as referees), but the construction workers who built the stadium can feel an extra surge of pride in the work they completed two years ago under a project labor agreement (PLA).
And the New Jersey workers are not alone. According to the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), 12 of the 18 NFL stadiums that have been (or soon will be) constructed or renovated since 1998 have been completed under PLAs.
PLAs ensure high standards on large construction projects by establishing wages and conditions for all of the work, ahead of time. Training requirements mean the best-skilled workers staff these complex projects. Safety monitoring mandated in PLAs makes it possible for a project like MetLife to produce 4.5 million man-hours worth of work, with no serious incidents or accidents—and to complete it four months ahead of schedule.
And PLAs make good business sense, as our friends at BCTD say:
NFL owners, like any business people, are cost-conscious and profit-oriented. They understand that PLAs provide increased job site efficiencies through the utilization of the safest, most highly trained and productive skilled craft workforce known to mankind; a workforce that is developed through the investment of approximately 1 billion dollars a year by America's building trades unions and their signatory contractors in the world's most admired skilled craft apprenticeship and training infrastructure.
With such resounding success in sports complexes and many other large projects, PLAs shouldn’t be controversial, but the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Republican platform document calls for an end to PLAs and to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, the decades-old law that helps to preserve wage fairness on federal construction projects.
Read more about PLAs in the NFL here.