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ABC is encouraging all members to call on their representatives in Congress to cosponsor the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1552/S. 622). The bill, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in the U.S. Senate, would ensure controversial project labor agreements (PLAs) cannot be mandated on taxpayer-funded construction projects.

ABC supports the Fair and Open Competition Act because it will help create a level playing field in the procurement of government construction contracts, increase competition, help small businesses grow, curb construction costs and spread the job-creating benefits of federally funded contracts throughout the entire construction industry.
ABC and a coalition of construction and business groups sent a letter to Congress March 16 urging them to support the bill. In its letter, ABC explained, “When mandated by government agencies, PLAs can interfere with existing union collective bargaining agreements and unfairly discourage competition from nonunion contractors and their employees, who comprise 86.1 percent of the U.S. private construction workforce.”

Members can voice their support for H.R. 1552/S. 622 to their representatives in Congress through the ABC Action Center or through the ABC Action App on both iPhone and Android devices.

ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck welcomed the introduction of the legislation by issuing the following statement.

“The Fair and Open Competition Act will create more construction jobs and help taxpayers get the best possible construction project at the best possible price by increasing competition, reducing waste, and eliminating favoritism in the procurement process. This important bill will create a level playing field where more qualified contractors will compete for public construction contracts because the government cannot encourage or prohibit project labor agreements.

“When mandated by the government, PLAs discriminate against the 86.1 percent of the private U.S. construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor union and drive up the cost of taxpayer-funded construction by 12 percent to 18 percent compared to projects not subject to PLA mandates. ABC supports this bill because it will create jobs for veterans, minorities, women and local workers not affiliated with unions, and will create opportunities for small businesses and qualified contractors hurt by PLA requirements. ABC and a coalition of construction and business groups urge Congress to immediately pass this common-sense legislation and put an end to these anti-competitive and costly contracting schemes.”