ABC Opposes Union Labor Requirements on Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation

On Aug. 22, ABC submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation in opposition to union labor requirements included in a proposed rule establishing the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.

The NEVI Formula Program will implement provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law in 2021, that include $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations (including $5 billion over five years to install EV chargers mostly along interstate highways). The intent of the program is to support the installation of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers across the country by 2030 as part of a domestic push to shift away from gas-powered vehicles.

ABC submitted comments in response to a request for information on the program on Jan. 28. ABC urged the DOT to avoid union labor requirements and to instead welcome all qualified contractors to build EV chargers. Unfortunately, the agency disregarded these recommendations in the proposed rule.

The proposed rule contains several concerning labor provisions of interest to the construction industry and ABC members. It requires that all electricians working on electric vehicle supply equipment either be certified by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Electric Vehicle Industry Training Program or be a graduate of a government-registered apprenticeship program with a focus on EVSE installation approved by the U.S. Department of Labor in consultation with the DOT. Additionally, the proposed rule requires all NEVI-funded projects that require more than one electrician to use at least one GRAP-enrolled apprentice.

ABC’s comments push back against these requirements, making the following key points:

  • EVITP requirements will exacerbate the skilled labor shortage, exclude experienced contractors, increase project costs and delay the rapid installation of EV chargers.
  • The proposed rule’s alternative GRAP requirements are currently unworkable and impossible to satisfy. The rule specifies these GRAP programs must include EVSE-specific training developed as a part of a national guideline standard approved by the DOL and DOT, which has not been created yet. This means there is no alternative to the EVITP in the proposed rule. In addition, the GRAP requirements will disproportionately impact nonunion contractors/workers and small, minority- and women-owned businesses/contractors.
  • The DOT should thoroughly evaluate existing licensing, training and certification policies and practices instead of imposing new mandates.

The proposed rule’s comment period is now closed. ABC will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates in Newsline on the forthcoming final rule and possible litigation challenging this provision. If you would like more information, please contact Michael Altman.