PHA and Building Trade Unions Agree to Reduce Construction Costs

Agreement will also bring more women and minorities into the workforce

(Philadelphia, PA - May 21, 2018)  - The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) today signed an agreement that will lead to lower costs on large-scale PHA construction projects and greater inclusion of women and minorities at those worksites.

"The signing of this agreement marks more than two years of efforts to reduce the labor costs of building homes for our city's low-income seniors, disabled, veterans and families," said PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. "John J. Dougherty, Sam Staten and the rest of the Building Trades' leadership recognizes the tremendous need for affordable housing in Philadelphia, and acknowledges that by lowering construction costs we can produce more of these homes."

In addition to cost savings, the agreement - which affects projects of $3 million or more - also mandates that PHA residents make up at least 25 percent of the workforce. PHA's apprenticeship program has produced hundreds of graduates who have earned their Building Trades cards and are available to fill these slots. 

"This project labor agreement (PLA) provides efficiency, structure and stability to PHA's large-scale construction projects. Our members are gratified to help provide more housing to the city's lower-income citizens and add to the diversity of craftsmen at these worksites," said BCTC Business Manager John J. Dougherty. "This will certainly help increase opportunities for minorities and women to have successful careers in the Building Trades."

Under the PLA, project-specific adjustments can be made to existing collective bargaining agreements related to conditions of employment such as length of the work day and work week. For example, a contractor could use a four-day, ten-hours-per-day work week rather than a traditional five-day, eight-hours-per-day schedule. Similarly, if severe weather causes a nonwork day the contractor may schedule a Saturday make-up day. The agreement also prohibits strikes, work slow-downs, sick-outs or other disruptive activity as well as lock-outs by the contractor.

"This agreement is intended to encourage close cooperation between management and labor, which I have already felt throughout this deal's negotiation process," Jeremiah said.  

Another part of the agreement requires contractors to sign a PLA with the unions and abide by all provisions, including a minimum of 20 percent minority and women-owned business participation.