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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).

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a PLA?

A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement between a construction site owner and a coalition of unions.

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 and conditions 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.

What are the key provisions of the Port PLA that affect contractors and subcontractors?


Pre-Job Jurisdictional Conference

Pre-job meetings occur prior to the start of construction, and include representatives of the Port’s PLA Team and the King County construction unions. The successful general contractor must attend a pre-job meeting for each contract awarded. All subcontractors of any tier shall attend at least one pre-job conference and, thereafter, have the option to submit a request for a waiver to the Building Trades. Contractors will make craft / trade work assignments at this meeting. Should any union claim or challenge 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 workers that perform manual labor in support of the project are required to use this testing policy not more than 24 hours prior to the start of work.

Wages and Benefits

Wage rates to be paid to all laborers, workers, and mechanics who perform any part of the PLA within King County shall be in accordance with the current local craft labor agreement as identified in their individual Collective Bargaining Agreement. Non-signatory contractors should note that payments are required on behalf of each “core” employee into the established Union Trust Funds.

Using Union Workers

A non-signatory contractor may use up to five (5) persons per each contractor (“core” employees), provided that each core employee passes a set of criteria. The contractor may elect to hire its first “core” employee to be a foreman. After the contractor hires their first core employee, the Union will refer one journeyman employee from the hiring hall for the affected trade or craft, then refer one of such contractor’s “core” employees as a journeyman, and shall, alternate, one core employee and one union employee until crew requirements are met or until the contractor has hired five (5) “core” employees, whichever occurs first. Thereafter, all additional employees shall be hired exclusively from the hiring hall. All employees, core and union, shall be dispatched from the appropriate union and trust benefits shall be paid on all employees.

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