Cloquet revisits PLA rule

The Cloquet City Council is reconsidering its decision to eliminate Project Labor Agreements on city projects.
Earlier in May, the council voted to eliminate PLAs in an effort to protect the city from lawsuits filed by the Christian Labor Association and other parties.
But at the May 18 meeting, Councilor Lamb invoked a rule that allows the body to reconsider a vote taken at the last meeting.
“After further investigation and discussion with the City of Duluth and some unions, I’d like us to reconsider the previous decision of repealing PLAs,” Lamb said.
After voting to reconsider, the council voted to table discussion on a revote until the next meeting, when all councilors would be present.
In January, the CLA filed suit against the cities of Duluth, Cloquet, and Two Harbors, and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District and the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council, saying PLAs contain language that require nonunion companies to sign union agreements and other complaints.

The lawsuit prompted Cloquet and Two Harbors to revisit their PLAs.

The National Association of Building Trades Unions (NABTU) recommended removing union-security clauses in the agreements to eliminate the chances of them being interpreted overly broadly, but Cloquet and Two Harbors decided to eliminate PLAs altogether.

PLAs are routinely used on public works projects and help ensure those projects are completed on time, with skilled craftspeople and on budget. They also help keep taxpayer money in local communities.

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