Letter to the editor: Former mayor supports labor agreements
April 30, 2021
My name is David Hallback, and I previously held the position of Mayor of Cloquet.
It was an honor to represent the citizens of Cloquet. I was proud of many things that moved Cloquet forward during my tenure.
However, I am troubled by the recent discussion to remove the project labor agreement (PLA) ordinance. The PLA does not restrict any contractors, union or nonunion; they are all allowed to bid and work on these projects. These are public and private projects in the city of Cloquet where taxpayers’ money is used to either pay for a city project or help finance a private project. A private project must have more than $175,000 in subsidies to require the PLA.
I have read there is a court challenge to the PLA — based on a recent court case (Janus v. AFSCME) — filed by a group called the Christian Labor Association (CLA) and two nonunion Duluth contractors. Attorneys for the Duluth Building & Construction Trades Council have worked with the League of Minnesota Cities as well as city and county attorneys to amend the PLAs to omit any union security clauses that seemed to be the basis of the CLA suit. This has been completed in the city of Cloquet, and briefs were filed last week to dismiss this action.
I urge the Cloquet mayor and councilors to not remove the PLA ordinance. It’s worked to put Cloquet contractors, Cloquet women and men in the trades to work.