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Project Labor Agreement (PLA)

What are PLAs?

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 nonunion - on a construction project. PLAs have been used for generations on successful public and private construction projects.

PLA background

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.

PLA study

The study, completed by Agreement Dynamics, Inc., examined PLA performance and received input from more than 141 individuals and groups over the course of the study. Based on stakeholder feedback, the consultant also compared the provisions of this PLA with other PLA projects in the region. King County's Brightwater project, the Port of Seattle Airport PLA and WSDOT's 520 Pontoon contract (which is called a Community Workforce Agreement [CWA]), were selected.

The Sound Transit Board will review the study in 2012. Sound Transit staff is working to identify key stakeholder concerns and to develop strategies and potential actions that could improve administration of the PLA for Board consideration.

Project Labor Agreement Study (5.8 mb)

Project Labor Agreement for construction of Sounder & Link (2.0 mb)

For additional information or past labor reports, contact:

Chris Elwell: 206-689-4992,