Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act of 2012
Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, I stand today with my colleague from New York (Mr. Grimm) to support the working men and women of this great Nation.
You might take a quick look at section 517 of this legislation, the appropriations bill, and think it doesn't stop the Department of Defense from using a project labor agreement. But you must know, in reality, this confusing language is carefully hiding a back door, a back door opening to do away with PLAs.
Specifically, while currently the Department of Defense can choose whether they want to use a PLA, this language would prohibit even the option of choice whether to use a PLA. That's unacceptable.
This amendment doesn't dictate using PLAs. It just gives the Defense Department back the option to use them. Agencies like the Department of Defense need the flexibility and choice to use PLAs because of the variables they face in doing their job--from security issues, a very critical part of every contract; onsite safety, just as critical; to the skills needed to build unique facilities and structures.
Furthermore, the use of PLAs establishes a required skill level for what the project and the government require or desire, ensuring that these highly sensitive and complex projects are performed on time and on budget.
Let's cut to the chase, Mr. Chairman. The jobs where PLAs are used require higher skill sets.
The jobs where PLAs are used require higher skills, higher wages for engineers and laborers. Undercutting their ability to bid on contracts will not only hurt the project and the Department of Defense's bottom line, but it will also hurt the working men and women who are building our future.
I urge a ``yes'' vote on the Grimm amendment.