It is especially challenging in these tough economic times for officials within New York City’s and New York State’s many entities to decide how best to use public money for construction and renovation projects. This article is intended to serve as a resource to help officials make better informed decisions about the value of project labor agreements [PLAs]. It also encourages readers to see PLA use within broader objectives of sound public policy. PLAs have been demonstrated to be a very useful construction management tool for cost savings, for on-time, on-budget, and quality construction. But PLAs are not necessarily appropriate for every project. This report reviews the background and legal standards for the appropriate use of PLAs on public works projects in New York City and State. It details what PLAs do, how they have been used, and the benefits they offer—benefits that extend to workforce and economic development. This report also tests the validity of the claims made by PLA opponents that PLAs driveup construction costs. Focus is on the studies conducted in recent years by the Beacon Hill Institute, a particularly outspoken opponent of PLA use in both the public and private sectors.

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