On April 27, ABC sent a letter to a congressional subcommittee warning of the negative impacts of imposing government-mandated project labor agreements on infrastructure spending.
Citing construction-related economic data and trends, including the construction industry shortage of 650,000 workers in 2022, ABC wrote that Congress should recognize that more regulations and less worker freedom will make it harder to fill any potential jobs created by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.
In the letter, sent to the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit for its hearing, “Examining Workforce Development and Job Creation in Surface Transportation Construction,” ABC advocated against President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14063 requiring project labor agreements on federal construction contracts greater than $35 million. Government-mandated PLAs increase the cost of construction by 12% to 20%, reduce competition by excluding 87.4% of the construction industry workforce and steal up to 34% of wages from the few nonunion workers allowed to work on a PLA jobsite.
In addition to ABC’s hearing comment letter, the following letters were also entered into the record at the hearing:
- A letter sent to President Biden by 17 Republican governors, led by Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Bill Lee of Tennessee, opposing the Biden administration’s policies promoting government-mandated project labor agreements on taxpayer-funded construction projects.
- A letter signed by 60 members of the House to President Biden saying that PLA mandates and preferences will “deny critical construction jobs to local workers and small businesses,” urging the White House to refrain from “attaching strings to infrastructure funding that create discriminatory barriers to recovery.”
- A letter to the White House with more than 1,200 signatures from ABC members and chapters voicing strong opposition to President Biden’s PLA EO. The letter also lays out concerns with other federal agency policies promoting PLAs on federally assisted construction projects, which would affect the allocation of funds under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law last year, as well as other laws providing funds for state and local governments to improve its infrastructure.
During the hearing, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., discussed the harm caused by President Biden’s executive order mandating PLAs and the need to reform Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws. Watch Rep. Perry’s statement and question on the topic here or below.
Additionally, Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, highlighted his concern over the PLA executive order, stating, “At a conference last month, Sen. Chuck Schumer stated that, in his role as majority leader of the Senate, he will fight to ensure that ‘every effing federal dollar only pays for union labor,’ further emphasizing his support for ‘PLAs everywhere.’ For everyone’s awareness, IIJA says nothing about project labor agreements and definitely nothing about every dollar only paying for union labor. These comments are pretty concerning, especially to the 87.4% of nonunion workers in that construction arena.” Watch Rep. Babin’s statement on the topic here or below.