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AGC Letter on Santa Fe Community Workforce Agreement

The City of Santa Fe is preparing to implement the Community Workforce Agreement it adopted on February 29, 2012. It appears the CWA may first begin to apply with the upcoming municipal procurements related to the Santa Fe rail yards. Attached, please see the letter from the AGC Board of Directors sent to the Mayor of Santa Fe and the City Councilors in opposition to this government mandated labor agreement. The letter outlines the basis for our association’s objection to this approach.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September  19, 2012
 
The Honorable David Coss
Mayor
City of Santa Fe
 

Dear Mayor Coss:

I am writing on behalf of the Associated General Contractors of New Mexico. Our state chapter, established in 1948, proudly comprises both the merit and signatory contractors delivering more than sixty percent of the commercial construction across New Mexico. Our diverse membership includes both general and specialty contractors, suppliers, and professional service affiliates.

We are writing with regard to the Community Workforce Agreement ordinance adopted on February 29 of this year, with the implementation date deferred until October 1, in June. We remain opposed to this new policy, based on the inefficiencies and inequities it will introduce into the City of Santa Fe’s public works procurement system. It is not at all clear that the intended goals of this approach can be realized without far greater costs to the City, its taxpayers, and the construction workforce from reduced competition, administrative burdens, and unvested, unclaimed fringe benefit payments.

At both the state and national levels, our industry and organization have a long history with the implementation and debates surrounding government mandates labor agreements (GMLAs). While specific project labor agreements may have been deliberately utilized in an attempt to meet the unique needs of particular and expansive projects, we are aware of no documentation nor evidence that jurisdiction-wide GMLAs  are cost-effective or consistently achieve their desired goals, however laudable. Instead they institute an ongoing risk of constricting and complicating the open and efficient competition for publicly funded projects.

AGC’s believes and defends the rights of all contractors to freely choose and manage their own labor arrangements, both merit and signatory. Federal and state law requires that prevailing wage rates apply on public works projects, ensuring fair compensation and benefit levels for workers. AGC strongly supports more consistent and rigorous monitoring and enforcement of these long-standing and well-established public policies to protect workers and provide greater stability and predictability in the commercial construction market.

Understanding this new City of Santa Fe ordinance passed in February and had its implementation deferred this past June, we respectfully ask for another reconsideration before it takes effect this October. Putting this policy in place will create an inherent disadvantage to smaller companies and increase the administrative burden to both the City and the firms it hires for construction and other services. In the current economic downturn of historical proportions, any measure that impedes an efficient and vibrant public works process and program poses a grave risk to expanding employment opportunities and economic growth.

We appreciate your time and consideration. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or needs for further information at (505) 842-1462.

Respectfully,

 

Larry Franken

Co-Owner & Vice President, Franken Construction Company, Inc.

Chair, AGC - AGC New Mexico Board of Directors

 

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