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The Obama administration has attempted to impose increased burdens on federal government contractors via policies that needlessly injure competition, increase taxpayer costs, stifle job creation, and delay the delivery of goods and services to the government and its customers. The most abusive federal contracting policies affecting the construction industry are the administration’s continued efforts to expand the use of project labor agreements and the expanded enforcement of “prevailing wage” requirements under the Davis-Bacon Act.

See below for the latest news, legislative action, regulatory developments and compliance tools for hot button issues in federal, state and local procurement.

ABC Opposes President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673

President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, known as the “Blacklisting” EO because it could prevent some federal contractors from winning future federal contracts, will discourage small businesses from pursuing federal contracts, threaten the livelihood of millions of Americans and increase costs to taxpayers.

Signed July 31, 2014, the EO could result in some of the best firms being arbitrarily blacklisted from winning future federal contracts for committing even minor violations of a rapidly growing and constantly changing labyrinth of workplace laws and regulations, including 14 federal statutes and yet-to-be-defined equivalent state laws. By seeking to impose new penalties on contractors beyond those specified by Congress, the president is exceeding his office’s constitutional authority and undermining the carefully balanced contracting provisions that already exist.

While the full effect of the blacklisting EO won’t be known until more detailed regulations are finalized (as of April 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor has yet to issue a guidance memo, nor has the FAR issued a proposed rule), there is great concern that the livelihoods of federal contractors and their employees could be jeopardized based on the subjective decisions of a team of new unelected bureaucrats who will be charged with judging federal contractors’ compliance records.

Many have expressed concern that this executive order could be used to reward political allies with contracts while blacklisting political foes. Such high stakes open the door to corruption and favoritism in the procurement process, allow trial lawyers to extort larger settlements from firms, enable bureaucratic agencies to extract costly settlements for conduct that may have been legal, and give labor unions leverage to get businesses to capitulate to their demands.

Taxpayers, contractors and their employees deserve a fair and transparent process that will award contracts based on merit to firms that can deliver the highest quality product at the best price. Instead, the Blacklisting EO adds uncertainty and subjectivity to the government contracting process and likely will increase the frequency and cost of labor and employment disputes.

To learn how to participate in the forthcoming rulemaking process and comply with new rules once Executive Order 13673 is in effect, email ABC Director of Federal Procurement and Labor Affairs Ben Brubeck at Brubeck@abc.org.

Important Links

The Blacklisting Executive Order: Rewriting Federal Labor Policies Through Executive Fiat. Joint hearing held by U.S. House Education and Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions. Feb. 28, 2015.

‘Blacklisting’ Executive Order Continues Regulatory Assault on Federal Contractors. Construction Executive Washington Update Column by Ben Brubeck, November 2014.

ABC’s news release on federal contracting coalition letter asking President Obama to withdraw Blacklisting EO, November 7, 2014.

Blacklisting Executive Order Meets Opposition from ABC at White House Meeting. ABC Newsline, Oct. 22, 2014.

Nothing’s Fair About Obama’s Fair Pay Order. ABC’s Op-Ed by Geoff Burr in Government Executive, Sept. 12, 2014.

Editorial: Obama’s Make-Work Order. Wall Street Journal, Aug. 8, 2014.

Latest Obama Executive Order Could Create Federal Contractor “Blacklist”. ABC Newsline, Aug. 6, 2014.

New "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces" Executive Order Dramatically Increases Risks for Government Contractors. Littler memo by ABC General Counsel Maury Baskin, Aug. 1, 2014.

ABC’s news release criticizing Obama Blacklisting EO. July 31, 2014.

White House Fact Sheet: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. July 31, 2014.

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673. July 31, 2014.


Why The President’s Blacklisting Executive Order Won’t Work

As a part of the Acquisition Reform Working Group (ARWG), ABC along with employer groups and associations representing federal contractors sent a letter April 20 to the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees outlining major concerns with President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (E.O. 13673). 

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Blacklisting Executive Order Meets Opposition from ABC at White House Meeting

ABC strongly opposed a new executive order (EO) that will harm federal contractors, taxpayers and government procurement officials at an Oct. 13, 2014, White House listening session with major employer association representatives, businesses and Obama administration officials.

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Blacklisting Executive Order and Other New Challenges for Federal Contractors

The Obama administration has recently issued several heavy-handed executive actions that affect the federal contracting community, particularly the construction industry. These actions cover everything from potential blacklisting to super-minimum wage to overtime.

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Why The President’s Blacklisting Executive Order Won’t Work

As a part of the Acquisition Reform Working Group (ARWG), ABC along with employer groups and associations representing federal contractors sent a letter April 20 to the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees outlining major concerns with President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (E.O. 13673). 

Read More

Proposed Rule on Compensation Reports for Federal Contractors Draws Concern

ABC submitted comments on Jan. 5 to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) expressing their strong opposition to the proposed rule that would require government contractors to report summary data on employee compensation to the DOL. ABC urges the OFCCP to withdraw their proposal.

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OFCCP Final Rule Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a final rule Dec. 9 implementing Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees and prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in federal employment.

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Federal Contracting

The Obama administration has attempted to impose increased burdens on federal government contractors via executive actions that needlessly restrain competition, increase taxpayer costs, stifle job creation, and delay the delivery of goods and services to the government and its customers.

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What Are Public-Private Partnerships?

Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) are defined by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) as: “a contractual arrangement whereby the resources, risks and rewards of both the public agency and private company are combined to provide greater efficiency, better access to capital, and improved compliance with a range of government regulations regarding the environment and workplace.”

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Conference Offers In-Depth Look at Public-Private Partnerships

Join ABC and a growing list of industry professionals in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 23-25, for the annual Public-Private Partnership Conference (P3C), one of the largest gatherings of government and industry development professionals in the country.  The conference will host more than 750 owners, industry executives, key decision-makers, and more than 100 speakers for three days of in-depth learning, business development, and networking opportunities to address the critical principles behind successful public-private partnerships (P3).  

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Public-Private Partnership Miami Summit Addresses Social Infrastructure

During the inaugural P3s for Public Buildings Summit Nov. 17-18 in Miami, Fla., the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) and the Performance Based Building Coalition (PBBC) will team up to educate stakeholders about developing and financing  public-private partnerships (P3s) for public buildings,  understanding federal policy challenges and solutions, forecasting the future of the P3 marketplace and highlighting specific examples of successful P3 projects.

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ABC Concerned Senate Water Resource Bill will Expand Davis Bacon, Exclude P3s

In response to the House-Senate Conference meeting on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (H.R. 3080) and the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601), ABC Jan. 7 sent a letter to members of Congress thanking them for recognizing the importance of our nation’s water infrastructure and for moving forward with the first Water Resource Reauthorization bill since 2007. However, ABC also expressed concern that the proposed Senate bill would expand Davis Bacon requirements and exclude a public-private partnership (P3s) program.

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