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    letters | Organized labor in massachusetts

    Much value in project labor agreements

    RE “THE 1 percenters in Mass.? The unions” by Charles Chieppo (Op-ed, Dec. 9): Researchers have rebutted the Beacon Hill Institute’s claim that project labor agreements raise costs. Indeed, these agreements have been shown to be an effective way to manage and maintain time schedules and budgets, particularly for large, complex construction projects that involve a multitude of contractors and workers with specialized skills. In effect, these agreements safeguard an owner’s investment of time and money.

    That’s why they have been used on billions of dollars worth of construction projects, both public and private, since World War I. Some of the most respected private and public entities in Massachusetts, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, Fidelity, Baystate Medical Center, the College of the Holy Cross, Logan Airport, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, to name a few, have implemented project labor agreements.

    Moreover, while Chieppo claims that a majority of Massachusetts construction workers are nonunion, a 2010 Cornell University study showed that unions represent more than 60 percent of the Massachusetts construction workforce. Unions also train the vast majority of construction apprentices.

    Mary Vogel

    Executive director

    The Construction Institute