Opposition to a blatantly anti-labor bill is beginning to build in Virginia, and State Senators Dave Marsden and Chap Petersen and Delegate David Englin are among those voicing criticism. House Bill No. 2, introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall, would prohibit Virginia from providing funding for Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metro Project if it is subject to a project labor agreement (PLA).
PLAs don't actually require projects to only hire union workers--they are a tool for taxpayer accountability. PLAs require the use of trained workers and safety standards for contractors, and worked great on Phase 1 of the project, as we pointed out previously. State Senator Dave Marsden said in a statement this week,
"What concerns me is that this bill appears to stem from an anti-union mindset that places ideology over public good and job creation. It could lead to experienced workers who performed well on Phase I being excluded from Phase II, and create the need for the expense of training new workers. Just as importantly, the PLA will create local jobs for a largely local workforce... A PLA is not always necessary on public projects, but I would ask my good friend Delegate Marshall, 'what problem are you trying to solve with this legislation?' It seems that continuing the PLA during Phase II is in keeping with good public policy. Let's not remove what has proven to be successful tool from consideration."
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The anti-PLA bill has no benefit for Virginia, and actually does a disservice. Marshall's bill is a prime example of legislation based on ideology instead of facts. Adding to the criticism, State Senator Chap Petersen wrote,
"Like a lot of bad legislation, the Delegate's bill is a 'Section 1' bill, which means that it does not actually change state law - it makes a statement. In this case, the statement is mere irony since the Commonwealth has contributed nothing to Dulles Rail, which is now completing 'Phase 1' of construction under a PLA... In essence, HB 2 is not about results. It's about discrimination, i.e. making sure that union-based firms are not permitted to bid on a Virginia project."
Our representatives should be focusing on creating jobs for Virginians, and instead, the only thing Bob Marshall is trying to build are partisan roadblocks. Delegate David Englin points out in a recent release,
"Delegate Marshall's legislation discriminates against workers who choose to join a union and would endanger a critical regional project that has already been mired in political conflict. Instead of trying to get Virginians working, Delegate Marshall and the Republicans who support his effort are focused on scoring political points with their funders and threatening thousands of jobs, as well as future economic growth and traffic abatement in Northern Virginia."
Virginians deserve representatives who prioritize people over partisanship and ideological legislation. ProgressVA would like to thank Senator Marsden, Senator Petersen, Delegate Englin and all others who are taking a stand against this legislation and are actually working for the betterment of our Commonwealth.