Federal Legislation Restricting Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements Introduced in 113th Congress

3 January 30, 2013  Federal Construction

Today, ABC issued a press release in support of the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 436/S. 109), an important piece of legislation supported by the contracting community and TheTruthAboutPLAs.com.

The measure prohibits federal agencies from requiring or prohibiting contractors to execute project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of winning a contract to build a federal or federally assisted construction project. It also prohibits discriminatory PLA preferences on federal and federally assisted construction projects. While allowing contractors to voluntarily enter into PLAs without government coercion, this legislation will effectively stop anti-competitive and costly government-mandated PLAs promoted by the Obama administration.

The text of the bill is the same as the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 735/S.119) from the 112th Congress, which received a record 181 cosponsors in the House, 32 cosponsors in the Senate, a House subcommittee hearing and broad support from a diverse coalition of construction industry associations and employer groups opposed to government-mandated PLAs.

LEGISLATION WOULD RESTORE FAIR AND OPEN COMPETITION ON FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

Contact: Gerry Fritz, (703) 812-2062         For Immediate Release
fritz@                        January 30, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today voiced its strong support for the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 436/S. 109), a measure introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that would ensure fair and open competition on federal and federally funded construction projects.

“ABC urges immediate congressional passage of this important legislation,” said Greg Hoberock, 2013 ABC national chairman and CEO of hth companies, Union, Mo. “The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act will create more construction industry 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 of federal and federally assisted construction projects.

“President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order 13502 promoted the use of government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs), which effectively denied qualified merit shop contractors and their skilled employees a fair chance to build billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-funded projects,” said Hoberock. “This bad public policy resulted in increased costs, delays and discrimination against the 86.8 percent of the U.S. private construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor union.”

A PLA is a job-specific collective bargaining agreement with multiple construction unions. When mandated by a government agency on a taxpayer-funded project, construction contracts are awarded only to companies that agree to recognize unions as the representatives of their employees on that job; use the union hiring hall to obtain workers at the expense of existing qualified employees; obtain apprentices through union apprenticeship programs; follow inefficient union work rules; and pay into union benefit and multi-employer pension plans.

Studies indicate government-mandated PLAs increase the cost of construction projects in numerous markets between 12 percent and 18 percent compared to similar non-PLA projects.

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Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national association with 72 chapters representing more than 22,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms with nearly two million employees. Visit us at www. and learn more about government-mandated PLAs at www.TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, www.facebook.com/TheTruthAboutPLAs and @truthaboutplas.

Rep. Harris and Sen. Vitter commented on the bill in this joint press release:

…In 2009, President Obama introduced Executive Order 13502 that strengthened project labor agreements (PLAs) which favored union-based construction workers over non-union construction workers. The result has been de-facto discrimination against non-union construction workers, costlier projects, and longer completion time.

Statement from Rep. Harris:

“The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act is pro-growth, pro-taxpayer, and pro-worker choice legislation that will lower government costs by increasing the competitiveness of federal contracts, while also ensuring all construction workers have equal opportunity to find work. For too long, President Obama has preferred mandating union-based workers for federal contracts. This has increased the cost of government contracts while it discriminated against qualified workers who chose not to belong to a union. I look forward to working with my colleagues from both parties in both chambers to build support for this common-sense legislation.”

Statement from Senator Vitter:

“One way to ensure that taxpayers get the most value for their dollar is to prohibit federal agencies from mandating contractors to agree to union-favoring project labor agreements in order to win a federal construction contract. President Obama has done his darndest to repay his Big Labor political debt, but we have a legislative fix – ensure bidding of the best possible construction product at the best possible price.”

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Taxpayers should write their elected officials and encourage them to cosponsor and support this legislation.

Advocates of fair and open competition in federal contracting can thank Rep. Andy Harris and Sen. Vitter for introducing this legislation on Twitter by messaging  @RepAndyHarrisMD and @DavidVitter.

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3 Responses to Federal Legislation Restricting Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements Introduced in 113th Congress

Merit Shop News February 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

[…] Associated Builders and Contractors in Support of the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act – wwwTheTruthaboutPLAs.com – ABC chairman Greg Hoberock states the passing of this legislature will provide more industry jobs and that taxpayers will see the benefits as well. Read more. […]

g j smith February 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Discovered this site by accident, Why are you against paying your employees a decent wage . I have made a lot more money on PLA jobs then non PLA jobs.

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