Role of Unions in UMass Boston Project Becomes Issue in Gov’s Race

A Massachusetts  board’s decision to use only union labor in a $750 million renovation at the University of Massachusetts Boston has become a hot issue on the state’s campaign for governor.

The University of Massachusetts Building Authority voted 9 to 2 to approve use of a Project Labor Agreement, a contract under which companies bidding on state projects pledge to use union workers and the workers promise not to strike.

Republican candidate Charles D. Baker, who hopes to unseat Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick, said in a statement that the decision will cost UMass Boston up to $10 million.

Patrick’s labor secretary, Joanne Goldstein, told the Boston Globe that union safety and training standards, along with a no-strike promise, make such agreements more efficient.


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