Office of Labor Relations

Learn about the agency’s Project Labor Agreement and how this office connects with apprenticeships on ST projects.

The Office of Labor Relations continues our agency's focus on increasing our already significant integration with the labor community. We work with the planning, construction, and operations groups critical to interpreting, applying, and enforcing the Project Labor Agreement across the agency and resolving labor issues when they arise.

Sound Transit's Project Labor Agreement (PLA) promotes: our commitment to labor stability and a local workforce; apprenticeship and employment goals for people of color and women; and non-discrimination and fairness in employment for both union and non-union contractors and craft workers.


Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors. They govern terms and conditions of employment for all craft workers - union and non-union - on a construction project. PLAs have been used successfully for generations on public and private construction projects.

On May 31, 1996, the Sound Transit Board adopted Sound Move - a 10-year Regional Transit System Plan. Commuter rail and light rail were included in the plan, which also included requirements for timely completion of the work associated with these two components of the system. On July 8, 1999, the Board adopted Resolution No. R99-21, establishing Sound Transit's intent to use project labor agreements for a portion of construction contracts and authorized the Executive Director to negotiate one or more project labor agreements consistent with objectives, key provisions, implementation and oversight and monitoring outlined in the resolution. After the conclusion of negotiations, the Board passed Motion M99-80 on Nov. 18, 1999, authorizing the Executive Director to execute the project labor agreement.

The Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is a stand-alone collective bargaining agreement that applies to Link light rail construction contracts and Sounder commuter rail station contracts. It was negotiated between representatives appointed by the State of Washington Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions for labor, and Sound Transit for management. Organizations representing contractors and community also were included in negotiations.

By setting the apprenticeship utilization goal at 20 percent of the total construction hours worked, Sound Transit has set a high standard for projects. And it is helping improve the region by ensuring that there are opportunities for workers who want to get into the construction trades and that there is a ready and able supply of trained candidates.

This program has successfully helped underserved and disadvantaged populations gain access to apprenticeship opportunities in the construction industry. By partnering with programs such as Seattle Vocational Institute, Apprenticeship & Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW) and Helmets to Hardhats, Sound Transit helps place veterans, women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds into family wage-earning careers.

Also known as the "Nickel an Hour Fund", RAPID helps prepare unemployed and underemployed populations compete for entry-level positions as preferred entry apprentices in the building and construction trades. Unions and contractors actively recruit RAPID graduates for entrance to and successful completion of State Apprenticeship Council approved apprenticeship programs.