Harvard University first negotiated a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with area construction trade unions in 1992 to cover employment terms and conditions at selected renovation and construction projects across the University. The PLA is a collective bargaining agreement between Harvard University and multiple local constructions trade unions. The University’s current PLA with the trade union members of the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters has a duration of May 1, 2007 to May 1, 2012.
History of the PLA
The first Harvard University Project Labor Agreement was signed on May 7, 1992 by University representatives, the national Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and the local trades unions of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District. The Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, Local 3 and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen later entered the agreement with additional provisions specific to their trade.
The original agreement covered only specific renovation work in certain freshman dorms and the sprinkler system and other mechanical projects in the Holyoke Center. However, the PLA further provided that the parties could add additional projects under its terms by mutual consent through an amendment. More than forty-five (45) projects have been added to the PLA by amendment. You can read more about project amendments below.
The parties have renewed the PLA on four occasions since the initial agreement expired in 1995. Most recently, the University and the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters entered into an extension of the PLA through May 1, 2012. This extension contains several significant modifications to the PLA, including drug testing, and paves the way for use of the PLA on upcoming projects planned for the University’s expansion in the Boston neighborhood of Allston, which is across the Charles River from the University’s central campus in Cambridge. You can read more about the University’s plans for its Allston campus here.
Highlights of the Harvard University Project Labor Agreement
The Harvard University PLA sets forth the terms and conditions for employment on certain capital construction, rehabilitation and renovation projects on campus. You can view the full PLA here.
The key provisions of the PLA include:
- Unions and workers are strictly prohibited from engaging in activities such as strikes, “handbilling”, pickets, work stoppages, slowdowns or lockouts for the duration of a project covered by the PLA.
- The University maintains the right to select any qualified bidder for a particular project under the PLA; the selected Contractor must then sign the Letter of Assent binding it to the PLA and the local trade union collective bargaining agreements unless it is considered a specialty contractor.
- Several categories of work are excluded from PLA coverage, including: non-manual employees; off-site handling of materials, equipment or machinery; transportation systems between designated parking lots and the projects; off-site maintenance of equipment; exploratory geophysical testing and boring; laboratory or specialty testing or inspections; retail/commercial work performed in the area of the project; and, work performed on or near the project site by state, county, city or similar government bodies, public utilities or railroads, or their contractors.
- The Contractor is responsible for determining the number of employees needed, hiring, transfers, layoffs, discipline and discharge, selection of forepersons, hours of work, and the need for overtime on a project.
- The Union(s) and the Contractor (and sub-contractors, if applicable) will hold a pre-construction meeting to establish trade jurisdiction for all work on a particular project.
- A grievance and arbitration procedure is contained in the PLA to resolve any questions involving jurisdictional disputes or the interpretation and application of the agreement.
- The Contractor may change the standard work day hours if (in the Contractor’s opinion) doing so would benefit overall coordination on the project or would minimize inconvenience to the primary operations of the University.
- The University, the Project Contractor and a representative of the appropriate union will review any trade sub-bid that seems unreasonable.
- Any PLA project will continue to be subject to the PLA, even after expiration, until completion of project work.
- The University reserves the right to obtain competitive bidding for work performed by trade unions that are not signatories to the PLA.
- The Union agrees to use best efforts to comply with any local workforce hiring requirements.
- The Project Manager may limit access to the site and may institute a badge identification or other type of worksite access and security system.
- A uniform substance abuse program which mandates pre-employment, reasonable suspicion and post-accident alcohol and drug testing.
In addition, the University may add project-specific requirements for each amendment. For example, the Allston Science Complex project amendment includes a provision that affected trade unions will refer qualified Boston residents for work on the project, in accordance with Boston local hiring law. This ability to specify distinct project requirements through the amendment process allows the University to maintain flexibility on its projects and continues to foster a positive working relationship between the Cambridge and Boston area trade unions and the University.
University Construction Projects Covered by the PLA
University construction project managers may add their project by amendment to the PLA at any time during the term of the agreement, with consent from the trade unions. A PLA project amendment includes the name of the project and may include specific terms that are limited to that project, but do not otherwise modify the terms of the PLA. The University has executed several project amendments to the original PLA since its original 1992 execution date. Recent projects that have been added to the PLA by amendment include:
- Harvard Law School - Northwest Corner Project
- Malkin Athletic Center upgrades
- Northwest Science Building
- Hasty Pudding - New College Theater
- Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE)
- Allston Science Complex
PLA Fast Facts
|First PLA Executed:
||May 7, 1992
|Current PLA Duration:
||May 1, 2007 – May 1, 2012
||45 (total); approximately 5 current projects (as of June 2010)
Harvard University Project Labor Agreement
Harvard University – Allston Development Group