Opponents of project labor agreements are no doubt cheering two recent developments concerning wasteful PLA’s.

In New York, a state court has ordered the NYDOT to cancel an interchange project because NYDOT violated New York competitive bidding laws by requiring a PLA on the project.  According to ENR, at issue was a $72.4 million Orange County interchange project.  NYDOT awarded the project to A.Servidone/B. Anthony Construction Corp., a joint venture.  The JV’s bid complied with the PLA but was higher than the low bid, which did not comply.

However, NYDOT originally advertised the bid without the PLA.  However, after receiving a “proposal” from a “union group,” NYDOT changed its mind and 11 days prior to the date, revised the bid specification to include the PLA.

The objecting low bidder, Lancaster Development, bid the project without the PLA.  Although its bid was lowest, NYDOT rejected the bid because it did not comply with the bid specification requiring compliance with the PLA.

However, the Court overturned NYDOT rejection of Lancaster’s bid and ordered NYDOT to rebid the job.  No word on whether the rebid job will include a PLA from the outset.

In Washington, ENR reports that Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has canceled a PLA for the extension to the Metrorail system to Dulles airport.  The article states that the design build team that will be selected for Phase II of the project can “voluntarily” sign the PLA, which will now only apply to the prime contractor.  The article does not elaborate to what impact the elimination of the PLA to all but the prime contractor will have on the overall participation of merit shop contractors on the project.  If the design-build team anticipates entering into a single contractor with the prime contractor for all of the work, presumably the PLA would have the same effect overall.