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In More Than Half of US States, at Least 90% of the Construction Workforce Does Not Belong to a Union

WASHINGTON, April 13—According to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of 2022 state union membership data published recently by, at least 9 out of 10 construction workers in private industry do not belong to a union in 26 states, up from 24 states in 2021. Nationwide, a record 88.3% of construction workers do not belong to a union, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 87.4% in 2021.

“Data continue to suggest that the vast majority of construction industry professionals freely choose not to join a union,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “This illustrates why it makes no sense for the Biden administration to continue to advance controversial policies requiring workers on federal and federally assisted construction projects to join a union and/or pay union dues through schemes like project labor agreements and other anti-competitive and inflationary policies. Worker choice and freedoms create immense value for taxpayers and the construction industry, yet the Biden administration continues to undermine these principles with burdensome regulations that needlessly raise costs on taxpayer-funded construction projects and steer contracts to unionized contractors and workers.”

The construction industry awaits a final rule implementing President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14063, which requires project labor agreements on federal construction projects of $35 million or more. Research has found government-mandated PLAs increase infrastructure project costs by 12% to 20%. The Biden administration is also pushing state and local governments applying for more than $250 billion in federal infrastructure grants to require PLAs in order to enhance their ability to receive federal money. This executive overreach will also exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage of more than half a million people by excluding the 88% of the industry that chooses not to join a union and will undermine taxpayer investments in America’s infrastructure and clean energy projects.

“ABC will continue to challenge anti-competitive regulations that favor special interests and advocate for all construction workers to be welcome to build taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects,” said Brubeck.

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