Understanding the Labor Deal on the $1.1 Billion Redevelopment of Sparrows Point

Ally D'Ovidio

Despite Tradepoint Atlantic’s Union Pact opportunities remain for ABC members

Despite months of back and forth discussions with ABC, Tradepoint Atlantic is moving forward with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on the redevelopment of the property formerly known as Sparrows Point. The developer has agreed, however, to incorporate local hiring language in the bid documents that should create opportunities for Merit Shop contractors.

The labor pact is very similar to the one struck on the MGM National Harbor project, where the developer (or the general contractor) is required to receive three “qualified” union bids for every subcontracting trade package, otherwise they are free to hire a nonunion contractor. The MGM pact includes critical local hiring language that union firms typically have difficulty in meeting. As a result, merit shop contractors have performed nearly two-thirds of the work on the $1.3 billion MGM project.

For those merit shop contractors who are awarded work on Tradepoint Atlantic, they will not be required to sign a collective bargaining agreement or hire any union workers. Nor will they be required to meet any of the other stipulations that typically come with a Project Labor Agreement, including paying into a union pension fund.

Tradepoint has agreed to include similar local hiring language in the bid documents.

“There is plenty of case history on the harmful impact PLAs have on local hires,” said ABC’s Mike Henderson. “That’s why this language is so critical. Without it, Tradepoint would be able to receive bids from union contractors anywhere in the United States. So while we obviously argued against the wisdom of imposing any PLA, we think some of the accommodations will make this agreement less restrictive than it would have otherwise been.

The PLA is focused mostly on all construction to be performed at Tradepoint Atlantic, with the following exceptions:

  1. Environmental remediation
  2. Work performed directly by tenants
  3. Projects started before the PLA was signed, which includes the Under Armour Distribution Center
  4. Specialized work performed by OEM technicians

To find out more about the Tradepoint Atlantic project, the provisions contained in the PLA, and to get information on how to contact Tradepoint, please contact Mike Henderson directly (410) 821-0351 (ext 123)