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Bristol-Myers Squibb: An example of why Project Labor Agreements are a sound business choice

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Devens. MA
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Devens. MA
Bristol-Myers Squibb took a year to choose the location in Fort Devens after also considering sites in Rhode Island, North Carolina and New York. Company representatives say that Fort Devens was chosen for several factors, including tax incentives, the availability of an educated workforce and the existing infrastructure at Fort Devens. Massachusetts was the only state to include a PLA in its development package, guaranteeing access to a highly skilled construction workforce and other efficiencies for the timely construction of their project. The pharmaceutical giant’s decision to come to Massachusetts was coined as a “shot heard around the world”, opening the door for other bio-tech companies to locate their manufacturing facilities in the Commonwealth.
 
Bristol-Myers Squibb received $33 million in state tax credits, following legislation including a change to the state’s investment tax credit rules to allow the company to claim a refund for five percent of its investment in the facility. In addition, the state put through a $34 million bond issue for infrastructure relating to the new biopharmaceutical plant, the new waste water treatment site and sewage facilities.
 
The new facility began construction in February 2007 and is BMS’s largest single capital project with a projected cost of $750 million. The project consists of six structures with flagship buildings used for offices and quality control labs totaling 72,000 square feet. The manufacturing plant is 190,000 square feet. Bristol-Myers Squibb says the project is testimony to how things go well when all interests align. 
 
Anthony Ministeri Jr., Executive Project Director for Parsons, agrees. “The PLA has met my expectations. The skills and fortitude that the union workforce has brought to the project have been unsurpassed. All the craftsmen and women have worked as a team on the project and have contributed to its success.”
The project is on schedule greatly due to the union workers and contractors providing adequate numbers of qualified manpower. At any one time there have been up to 950 craft workers onsite and Parsons has processed almost 3,000 construction workers since the start of the project. The union workers and contractors have surpassed 2.2 million man-hours on the job.
 
Being a biopharmaceutical plant which will be producing an injectable drug, means that Bristol-Myers Squibb has to adhere to very strict building standards set forth by the FDA. Workers have to follow a clean construction protocol that demands a high level of experience and training. The union trades people have been meeting and often exceeding Parson’s goals to deliver a quality facility for the manufacture of a product that will enhance and save lives.  Bristol-Myers Squibb, Devens, MA
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Devens, MA
 
Worker safety has also been a paramount issue for Parsons during construction of the Bristol-Myers Squibb facility, which has maintained a model safety record. Through its Safety, Health and Risk Program (SHARP), Parsons reinforces its commitment to implementing best practices in achieving zero accidents and promoting a strong safety culture at every phase of the project beginning with business development through project closeout. Accountability and responsibility for safety and risk are shared by all employees. Two of the buildings that house the lab/office and manufacturing are also aiming for LEED certification. Final certifications are expected by end of summer '09.
 
Parsons has applied to receive recognition for its safety initiatives at BMS through OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. Bristol-Myers Squibb is on track for its proposed construction completion this year and it should come on-stream after validation by 2011. Commercial production of biological compounds is anticipated to begin in 2011. The plant will manufacture multiple biotech products. The manufacturing plant is expected to create hundreds of jobs when the site is completed.
 
The success of the building of the Bristol-Myers Squibb facility is resonating around the world and stands as testament to the unparalleled benefits of using PLAs. Many other respected institutions and businesses in Massachusetts have also implemented PLAs including Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Fidelity, the New England Patriots, Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, and Logan Airport, to name a few.