According to the Des Moines register, two union trade organizations have sued Iowa Governor  Terry Branstad and 10 other elected officials over Governor Branstad’s executive order banning Project Labor Agreements on Iowa Public Projects.  A copy of the Executive Order can be downloaded here:  Iowa PLA Executive Order

The Complaint challenges the removal of PLA’s from the bid specification on two state projects pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order.  A copy of the complaint is available here:  Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades, et. al. v. Terry E. Branstad, et. al Interestingly, the Unions allege that the National Labor Relations Act preempts the Governor’s Executive Order.  This argument is typically one that is used by opponents of PLA’s seeking to invalidate them.  It is also an argument which Federal Court’s have routinely denied.  Indeed, recently, the Supreme Court declined to review a 9th Circuit Opinion which refused to strike a PLA as preemepted under the NLRA.

Perhaps the best argument the unions make is that PLA’s are binding contracts requiring them to be utilized once the public entity executes it.  The complaint does not attach a copy of the PLA in question.

As PLA’s face increased scrutiny from cash strapped state and local governments, it will be interesting to see how this case plays out.    Stay tuned.

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