Union vs. non-union
To the Editor:
Late last year, the St. Louis County Council wrote new regulations that would prevent most non-union contractors from bidding on county construction projects. The Council accomplished this by redefining what a “responsible bidder” is for these projects, adding provisions that were purpose-built to ensure that union contractors received special treatment.
The purpose of “responsible bidder” laws is to get the best deals for taxpayers; the County’s revision does precisely the opposite, benefiting a narrow private interest.
How narrow of an interest?
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics recently released new data showing that of all construction labor, only 13.2 percent are unionized nationwide, a drop from 14 percent last year. Put another way, St. Louis County rewrote its “responsible bidder” definitions to protect approximately one-eighth of the national construction industry, leaving the vast supermajority of labor – which is non-union – basically in the lurch for county contracts.
St. Louis County is trying to direct more taxpayer money to fewer people, and the special interest nature of the change in the law is accentuated by this new construction employment data.
The County should reconsider its decision so that taxpayers are protected instead of special interests.