Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Long Beach Port Approves Labor Agreement for Terminal Redevelopment

The governing board for the Port of Long Beach on Monday approved a project labor agreement for the first phase of a 10-year $750 million Middle Harbor container terminal redevelopment plan.

The project labor agreement, or PLA, provides that any contractor or subcontractor can bid on work for the Middle Harbor project if they agree to the PLA's basic tenets, which include: a 30 percent local hire goal; adherence to a prevailing wage scale; a promise of no labor actions such as pickets or strikes; an arbitration process to resolve labor disputes; and, substance screening for workers.

The PLA covers the roughly $150 million worth of Phase I work on the Middle Harbor project, which ultimately will redevelop and join three aging terminals into a single highly-efficient mega-terminal.

Proponents of the PLA, which includes nearly two dozen local labor unions, said the agreement would reduce potential costs on the terminal project and assure workforce security during construction.

Opponents of the PLA, including the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, argue that the agreement will reduce competition and result in more costly wage payouts during the project life.