Pennsylvania Record

Friday, November 15, 2019

Contractors claim Westmoreland County labor agreement requiring them to pay union dues is unlawful

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Oct 14, 2019


PITTSBURGH – A Pennsylvania contractor membership organization and several companies who perform contracting work in the state are suing the County of Westmoreland claiming the county's project labor agreement that requires contractors to recognize a union and to become a dues-paying member of the union for projects more than $150,000 violates federal and state laws. 

According to the Sept. 23 U.S District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania filing, plaintiffs Associated Builders & Contractors of Western Pennsylvania, Alex E. Paris Contracting Co., Westmoreland Electric Services, Lawrence Plumbing and others filed suit against the defendant County of Westmoreland alleging violation of the National Labor Relations Act and other counts.

"The county’s project labor agreement violates the rights of contractors and their employees under the First and 14th Amendments and the National Labor Relations Act," the suit states. "It also violates state competitive-bidding laws. The plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief against its continued enforcement."

According to the complaint, Westmoreland County's project labor agreement prohibits contractors from working on county projects without recognizing a Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council affiliated union, even if the contractor's employees have not unionized or chose to have another union represent them. The agreement allegedly also requires the contractors to pay union member fees and become a member throughout the project, and also requires contractors to pay into the union's health care funds and abide by union rules and procedures.

The plaintiffs seek to permanently enjoin Westmoreland County from enforcing the labor agreement and seek attorneys' fees and costs. 

The plaintiffs are represented by Jonathan Mitchell of Mitchell Law PLLC in Austin, Texas; Walter Zimolong of Zimolong LLC in Villanova; and Thomas Weiers Jr. of Sewickley.

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