Manchester Mayor Guinta: New Hampshire jobs should go to New Hampshire workers

MANCHESTER (October 8, 2009) – Mayor Frank Guinta expressed concern that jobs for Manchester residents and New Hampshire firms will be shut out by the Obama administration’s insistence that the Job Corps Center, slated to be built at the Northwest Business Park at Hackett Hill, be contracted by a union company or to a firm compelled to sign a project labor agreement (PLA).

 “I have spoken to contractors from across the state, and, like them, I staunchly oppose the Obama administration’s bureaucratic requirements that will prevent New Hampshire employers from bidding on the Job Corps Center,” Guinta said. “Earlier this week, North Branch Construction of Concord filed a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office saying the requirement is discriminatory and restricts competition. I could not agree more.”

Guinta said there is a strong likelihood that out-of-state employees will be hired over well-qualified construction workers from Manchester and the state, since 8 percent of construction workers in New Hampshire are unionized. In addition, requiring general contractors in New Hampshire to sign a PLA would increase a firm’s expenses by up to 20 percent. This would make it impossible for New Hampshire contactors to be competitive for major projects.

 “I side with New Hampshire workers and New Hampshire employers. Therefore, I urge the Obama administration to work with us to provide local construction workers well-paying jobs while still allowing construction firms the ability to be competitive,” Guinta said. “Many New Hampshire builders and contractors have stellar reputations for safety, skill and employee satisfaction. This rule discriminates against them.”

Guinta said that at a time when New Hampshire unemployment rate is the highest in nearly 20 years, Obama’s rule says to our hard-working construction workers that they are not good enough for projects in their own backyard. “I guess when the president says he wants to create jobs, he obviously means to exclude New Hampshire’s hard-working workers and small businesses,” Guinta said.