The Poll: Heartland PLA

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by LIBN Staff
August 2, 2012

Project labor agreements are tools unions and developers use when building major developments to determine the type of workforce that will be constructing the project. 

Among other things, PLAs set the wage rates and benefits of all employees working on a particular project and also serve to prevent strikes, lockouts or other work stoppages. 

They've been around since the 1930s, but have become an issue on contention on Long Island as of late, specifically regarding theproposed $4 billion Heartland Town Square project in Brentwood being pitched by developer Jerry Wolkoff. 

Wolkoff has been steadfast in his insistence to not sign a PLA while James Castellane, president of the Nassau-Suffolk Building Trades Council, has been just as obstinate in his demand that one be part of the development. 

The issue has even led to some members of the building trades council, specifically Local 138 of of the Operating Engineers, to split from Castellane and announce they would negotiate directly with Wolkoff to get their workers on the job. 

In a better economy, this might not be an issue, but with developers struggling for financing and scores of building trades workers off the job since the recession hit, each side is looking out for their own best interests. 

Which one is right? 

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