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Project Labor Agreement

The Port of Seattle has a long history of working with organized labor in ways that support its mission to create economic vitality in the Puget Sound region. The port has used a project labor agreement on specific major works projects since 1999. The port's Construction Labor Group administers the Project Labor Agreement (PLA).
Q: What is a Project Labor Agreement?
A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement between a construction site owner and a coalition of unions.
Q: Does the Port of Seattle’s PLA bind contractors and subcontractors? 
Yes. If the use of a PLA is in the bid specifications, all general contractors and all sub-contractors, regardless of tier, must sign a Letter of Assent to the PLA. This letter binds the contractor to the terms of the PLA for the awarded project only. It does not bind any contractor to a union agreement, or to use the PLA on any other project. 
Q: What are the key provisions of the Port PLA that affect contractors and subcontractors?
  • Pre-Job Jurisdictional Conference – Pre-job meetings occur prior to start of construction, and include representatives of the Port’s PLA Team and the affiliate unions of the Seattle / King County Building Trades Council. The successful general contractor must attend a pre-job meeting for each contract awarded. All subcontractors shall attend at least one pre-job conference and, thereafter, have the option to submit a request for waiver to the Building Trades. Contractors will make craft / trade work assignments at this meeting. Should any union disagree with the assignments, it may follow the established jurisdictional dispute resolution process provided in the project labor agreement.

  • Substance Abuse Testing – A uniform substance abuse testing policy exists. All contractors are required to use this testing policy not more than 24 hours before beginning work.

  • Wages & Benefits – all Port of Seattle contractors, whether covered by a PLA or not, must, at a minimum, pay prevailing wages and benefits, as determined by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries. Non-signatory contractors should note that you are required to make payment on behalf of your “core” employees into the established Union Trust Funds .

  • Using Union Workers – A non-signatory contractor may use up to a number specified in the applicable PLA of its own “core” employees in each trade or craft. Given that the first “core” employee is a Foreman, the first worker hired comes from the union, second worker is “core”, third worker from the union, forth worker is “core”, and so forth, until such Contractor has hired a number of “core” employees specified in the applicable PLA. Thereafter, all additional employees in the affected trade or craft shall be hired exclusively from the union hiring hall. Contractors should note that their core employees do not become union members, but the contractor must pay the proper benefit payment in to the appropriate union trust fund for every employee on the job.
Q: Contact Construction Labor Group 
For more information, contact a member of the Port of Seattle’s Construction Labor Group.
    Sheri Cook, Field Operations Manager
    Office: 206-787-7207 / Cell: 206-979-2035

    Elaine Holmes, Administrative Specialist
    Office: 206-787-6885

    Lisa Hornfeck, PLA/LR Manager
    Office: 206-787-3515 / Cell: 206-399-0143
    For information about the port's apprenticeship program, please contact:
    Lauren O'Brien, Apprenticeships, Office of Social Responsibility 
    Office: 206-787-7981 / Cell: 206-601-8963
The documents listed below are all downloadable PDF files.