Waiting for Fed Regulations on Big Labor Handout
It is worth noting that the Daily Reporter wrote a brief article about the regulations for Executive Order 13502 that have yet to come out of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (“Builders wait for federal PLA rules,” 6/16).
President Barack Obama on Feb. 6 signed an order lifting the federal government’s ban of PLAs on federal projects worth more than $25 million. The order gave federal agencies until June 5 to change procurement rules to incorporate the new acceptance of PLAs.
But the U.S. Office of Management and Budget is still reviewing the revision.
In the interim, federal projects will likely proceed without government mandated PLAs. Federal construction projects free from anti-competitive PLAs will ensure that taxpayers receive the best product at the best price. In addition, all construction contractors and their workforce will have a level playing field to compete against each other for federal construction contracts. To date, we are not aware of any federal construction projects bid with a PLA.
The prospects of free and open competition will suffer a setback as soon as the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Council regulations are reviewed and released by the OMB. The regulations will likely allow each federal agency to decide — on a project-by-project basis for construction projects over $25 million — if PLAs will be required (as directed by Executive Order 13502). It remains unclear if a federal agency’s decision to enter into a PLA will be a whimsical political decision or one that requires a fact-based analysis of available qualified federal contractors, labor markets, labor unrest and other variables to be considered before requiring a PLA.
As soon as the regulations are released, www.TheTruthAboutPLAs.com will provide analysis and a reaction here.
Remember that the negative impact of the FAR regulations on free and open competition may be miniscule compared to the potential regulations about the broader use of PLAs in Section 7 of Executive Order 13502.
The changes to federal acquisition rules are bad enough for nonunion builders, Brubeck said. Worse, he said, is another component of the PLA executive order giving the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Labor until August to decide if PLAs should be used more broadly than just on large projects the federal government oversees.
“That’s the real concern for ABC,” Brubeck said, “because, right now, it’s not a mandate.”
If you are concerned about PLAs on federal construction, contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to to co-sponsor the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (S. 90/H.R. 983).
You can learn more about Executive Order 13502 by visiting previous blog entries tagged with Executive Order 13502 here.