• Oppose President Biden’s Pro-PLA Executive Order 14063
On Feb. 4, 2022, President Biden signed Executive Order 14063, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects. Once implemented following a rulemaking by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council that is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023, federal agencies will require that every prime contractor and subcontractor on a federal construction project of $35 million or more performed within the United States to sign a PLA as a condition of winning a taxpayer-funded contract.
ABC slammed the order: “This anti-competitive and costly executive order rewards well-connected special interests at the expense of hardworking taxpayers and small businesses who benefit from fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects.” ABC also said that the new policy will exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled workforce shortage, needlessly increase construction costs and reduce opportunities for local contractors and skilled tradespeople.
In 2022, an ABC-led coalition of associations and organizations representing tens of thousands of companies and millions of employees in the construction industry sent a Feb. 15 letter to the White House and a Feb. 28 letter to Congress highlighting concerns with President Biden’s effort to require controversial government-mandated PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction contracts. Almost 20 governors, 59 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 43 U.S. senators sent letters to the White House opposing its pro-PLA policies.
Additionally, ABC sent the White House a letter on April 6 with more than 1,200 signatures from member companies and chapters strongly opposing the executive order and other efforts by the Biden administration to push PLAs on federally assisted projects.
On Aug. 19, the FAR Council published a proposed rule requiring federal construction contracts of $35 million or more to be subjected to PLAs, in accordance with EO 14063.
ABC condemned the proposal, and included the results of its Sept. 7 survey of ABC contractor members’ opinions and experiences with government-mandated PLAs in more than 40 pages of comments ABC submitted on Oct. 18 to the FAR Council opposing the rule. In addition, more than 50 members of Congress, 19 governors and 22 construction industry anti-PLA coalition members submitted comments to the FAR Council opposing the rule.
ABC is currently awaiting the FAR Council’s final rule and evaluating legal options to challenge the EO policy and individual PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction contracts. For more information, please review ABC’s FAQs on Executive Order 14063.
Because government-mandated PLAs increase costs 12% to 20%, a record 88.3% of the U.S. construction workforce does not belong to a union and the construction industry will need to attract more than 500,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor, the Biden administration would be best served by promoting inclusive, win-win policies that welcome all of America’s construction industry to realize the full potential of federal taxpayer investments to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Doing so will increase accountability and competition and reduce waste and favoritism in the procurement of public works projects.
ABC has activated a grassroots campaign urging members of the House and Senate to co-sponsor the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R.1209/S.537), which would prevent the federal government from mandating PLAs as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts. It received 79 co-sponsors in the House and 23 in the Senate in the 118th Congress so far. ABC members are encouraged to visit the ABC Action Center and urge their members of Congress to support FOCA.
Visit freeenterprisealliance.org/foca to learn more and take action.
In addition, visit BuildAmericaLocal.com, a coalition website where the public can learn more and communicate with their elected officials about government-mandated PLAs.
• The Biden administration’s White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment
On Feb. 7, 2022, the Biden administration’s White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment issued its report on how to boost union membership in the federal government and public and private sectors. The report offers nearly 70 recommendations to promote pro-union policies and practices in the federal government, including the use of PLAs and other policies that would reduce competition and increase costs.
ABC stated, “The report’s recommendations to expand the use of anti-competitive and costly PLAs will increase infrastructure project costs by 12% to 20%, reduce competition from the best quality public works contractors and exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage by discriminating against the nearly 9 out of 10 members of the construction workforce who choose to be union-free.”
Combined with President Biden’s Feb. 4 executive order requiring PLAs on federal contracts exceeding $35 million, it is clear that the Biden administration will not create opportunities for all construction workers, small businesses and experienced contractors who build America safely, on time and on budget.
ABC will monitor actions resulting from the report and will continue to urge members of Congress and the Biden administration to promote inclusive, win-win policies that will increase accountability and competition while reducing waste and favoritism in the procurement of public works projects. ABC wants everyone in the construction industry to have the opportunity to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. It will take the entire construction workforce to realize the full potential of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.