On Tuesday, November 13th, the DC City Council held its first of two votes on Bill 22-0959, the “East End Health Equity Act of 2018”. The legislation as introduced would use $300 Million in District Funds to construct a new health care facility, managed by George Washington University Hospital on the grounds of the old St. Elizabeth’s (east campus). As part of the legislation, there was an amendment to remove the Certificate of Need (CON) for the project. Included in this amendment, was language requiring the use of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) as specified under the Procurement and Integrity Act of 2016. 

Under the Districts Procurement and Integrity Act of 2016, the District must use mandatory Project Labor Agreements on all city-funded projects with a total District investment of $75 million or more. This project is the first project budgeted under the new law, which also allows for the Mayor to remove the PLA requirement if they can justify the removal or show that it is not in the best interest of the District. 

During her 2018 re-election, representatives of the chapter met with Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) to discuss the issue and the chapter’s work in the District. The Mayor agreed at that point, that she did not see a real need for the use of PLA’s on projects in the District and agreed with previous assessments provided by the city’s former Chief Financial Officer Natwar Ghandi and the current Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt. Both gentlemen through various Fiscal Impact Statements stated that the use of mandatory PLA’s on District projects would increase the cost by 4 – 10% and potentially put local businesses at a competitive disadvantage because only a very small percentage of the local construction industry is labor affiliated. 

In response to the vote on the 13th, which passed by a vote of 11-2, the chapter will began an aggressive campaign to (a) encourage the mayor to remove the mandatory PLA on this project and (b) highlight the lack of justification for the use of PLA’s on future projects. To find out more information about the legislation, you can contact Eric J. Jones, MSF, Associate Director of Government Affairs at ejones@abcmetrowashington.org.  You can view a copy of the legislation at http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/40937/B22-0959-CommitteeReport1.pdf