An ABC-led coalition of more than 20 organizations and associations representing thousands of companies employing millions of workers in the construction industry submitted a comment letter in opposition to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s Aug. 19 proposed rule implementing President Biden’s Feb. 4 Executive Order 14063 requiring controversial and inflationary project labor agreements on federal construction contracts of $35 million or more in total value.
According to the comment letter:
“The proposal will injure competition and increase costs on taxpayer-funded construction contracts included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and other measures passed by Congress that fund public works contracts without government-mandated PLA requirements or PLA preferences.
“In short, hardworking taxpayers are getting less and paying more when PLAs are mandated by the government on federal construction projects. In addition, PLA requirements will exacerbate the construction industry’s 2022 projected skilled labor shortage of nearly 650,000 workers, reduce competition from experienced contractors and undermine the federal government’s mission-critical infrastructure needs by preventing strong participation from businesses and construction workers directly harmed by anti-competitive and costly pro-PLA policies.
“Because the proposal cannot be salvaged, our coalition asks the FAR Council to scrap the proposal in its entirety. In addition, we call on the Biden administration to abandon its inflationary policies independent of the proposed rule which use infrastructure grant programs administered by federal agencies to push PLA mandates and preferences on federally assisted construction projects procured by state and local governments. In place of these controversial and inflationary policies, we call on the Biden administration to promote inclusive, win-win policies that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, increase accountability and reduce waste and favoritism in the procurement of federal and federally assisted construction projects.
“Ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects will ultimately result in savings to taxpayers, more jobs, more opportunities for all qualified small, minority- and women-owned businesses in the construction industry and the completion of more infrastructure projects built by quality contractors and construction workers safely, on time and on budget.”
The coalition’s website, BuildAmericaLocal.com, features a grassroots campaign and a number of educational resources such as studies, op-eds, letters, talking points and a social media kit exposing problems with government-mandated PLAs and the Biden administration’s policies promoting anti-competitive and inflationary PLA schemes.
ABC strongly opposes the proposal and is submitting its own detailed comments to the FAR Council in opposition to the rule and has created an ABC Action grassroots action alert to help members submit their own comments to the FAR Council. The deadline to submit comments to the FAR Council is 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
For any questions regarding the FAR Council’s proposal, please review this FAQ document on Executive Order 14063, updated on Oct. 3, or reach out to Ben Brubeck at [email protected]. For questions about the action alert or filing individual comments, please reach out to Michael Altman at [email protected].