Politics & Policy

Dithering Dan: Onorato says It’s ‘Probably Wrong’ to Demand 90-Percent Union Labor

Dan Onorato’s quest for the governorship hit a roadblock this week. A group in Pittsburgh is suing the Allegheny County Executive, alleging that his office is limiting non-unionized labor opportunity for a planned science center at the Community College of Allegheny County. 

The college’s labor agreement mandated that 90 percent of workers building the K. Leroy Iris Science Center be union members. Dan Onorato has described that level as “probably wrong,” according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Onorato’s campaign has so far refused to comment, and neither Onorato nor Tom Corbett, his opponent, have agreed to sign an Associated Builders and Contractors pledge not to use labor agreements that limit nonunion workers’ participation.

The best line from the Tribune-Review article came from one Megan Dardanell, spokeswoman for Allegheny County:

Dardanell disagreed that labor agreements increase costs. Instead, they prohibit workers from going on strike and guarantee they’re paid healthy, state-mandated wages, said the county spokeswoman. In exchange, unions get a guarantee that their workers will receive jobs.

Labor agreements don’t increase cost, she says, and they only exist to guarantee “state-mandated wages.” So why create a labor mandate to “guarantee” an existing state wage mandate?

And if labor agreements are, indeed, cost-neutral (or even cost-saving), then why the need for a 90-percent-union mandate in the college’s agreement? 


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