After hearing several union laborers speak in favor of it, the Bayonne City Council approved a 20 percent project labor agreement for developments valued at over $15 million.
“Bayonne, as everybody knows, is the biggest pro-union town of organized labor, with AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the ILA, the firemen, the cops, stuff like that. A lot of people in Hudson County move into Bayonne to start a family and stuff like that,” said Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council President Pat Kelleher.
“So council president, council people, I know there was some concern with smaller contractors, mom and pop: we will never hurt the mom and pop. We want them to work in Bayonne, arm-in-arm, and have conversations with us through apprenticeships, through programs, signing up with agreements.”
The PLA agreement in front of the council includes a provision that 20 percent of construction workers must be a part of a Bayonne of Hudson county labor union for projects that are valued at $15 million and above.
After hours of public discussion, the Jersey City council passed a very similar agreement in August.
“We can teach them [young workers], we can keep ’em off the streets from getting in trouble. Bayonne is a small town, but it’s like a family town and with this bill passed, this will help the young generation to learn something,” added Michael McFadden, a member of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).
“I believe so strongly in the PLAs be passed in all of Hudson County, preferably the whole state, because if you look at the PLAs, project labor agreements, in hand with a PILOT, with the CBAs, collective bargaining agreements, which state, if they’re signed, every third hire needs to be a resident,” chimed in Thomas Boyle, another union laborer.
The council unanimously passed the measure by a vote of (5-0), leading to a standing ovation from the dozens of laborers in attendance.
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, whose along with the council is seeking re-election in May, was predictably enthusiastic about the decision.
“Bayonne is in the middle of a complete revitalization that will mean $10 million in new tax revenue and higher property values for homeowners when it’s all said and done, and now we’ve made sure that local Bayonne workers will also be some of the primary beneficiaries of our city’s renaissance,” Davis said in a statement.
Davis’ only declared opponent, Jason O’Donnell, called the timing of the PLA “completely disingenuous.”