Participate in the Regulatory Process to Oppose Executive Order 13502 and Project Labor Agreements

2 July 15, 2009  Federal Construction, Uncategorized

If you are reading this entry you are likely a new reader, visting because you have heard about the federal government’s latest effort to increase the cost of federal construction projects between 14 percent and 20 percent and create artificial barriers to new jobs for over 84 percent of the U.S. private construction workforce – construction workers that have exercised their right not to belong to a labor union. 

Of course, I am talking about recent developments related to the federal government’s preference for discriminatory and costly union-only project labor agreements (PLAs).

Welcome new visitors, let’s bring you up to speed.  If you don’t know what a PLA is, I recommend learning more here.

On Feb. 6, President Obama issued Executive Order 13502, which repeals President Bush’s Executive Order 13202 and encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal construction projects in excess of $25 million (click here for ABC’s analysis of Executive Order 13502).

On July 14, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council issued proposed regulations to implement Executive Order 13502.  ABC has serious concerns with the proposed regulation, particularly with its impact statement, the absence of any meaningful criteria for agencies to use in deciding whether to impose PLAs and the absence of any empirical justification for using PLAs on federal projects.

On July 10, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a troubling memo encouraging agency department leaders to consider requiring PLAs before the comment period even begins.

The proposed rule’s implementation would be a direct assault on free enterprise. These regulations are subject to the regulatory process, starting with a 30-day public comment period beginning Tuesday, July 14.

We need contractors, subcontractors, their employees and other interested parties in the construction industry to provide regulatory comments to the FAR Council. 

A robust regulatory response from ABC members and the construction industry opposed to PLAs could prevent federal agencies from implementing Executive Order 13502 regulations onto federal construction projects over $25 million and prohibit government mandated union-only PLAs requirements on projects receiving federal assistance at the state and local level (as directed by Section 7 of Executive Order 13502). 

In addition, the regulatory record will be helpful in challenging Executive Order 13502 in the courts under a variety of legal strategies, should that become necessary.

Tell the federal government how requiring union-only PLAs on federal and federally funded projects will hurt your business. 

Contact regulatory@ to receive information from ABC National that will help you draft and submit effective regulatory comments.  Remember that personalized comments make the biggest impact and only you can make a difference.

Visit for the most updated news and information on this issue in the coming weeks.

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2 Responses to Participate in the Regulatory Process to Oppose Executive Order 13502 and Project Labor Agreements

KK July 16, 2009 at 9:15 am

Great to see you getting the word out on this issue. PLAs reduce the number of contractors bidding a project, and drive up costs. Costs are driven up in several ways: 1) By reducing the number of general contractors bidding the project supply and demand always shows the cost will go up. 2) As a general contractor if my pool of subcontractors is restricted, those costs go up and I have to pass them on to the Owner [taxpayer]. 3) If I chose to have my employees work on the PLA job I now have to pay into the union for their benefits [that they will never see] plus maintain their existing benefits, raising my labor costs which will get passed on to the Owner. On some PLAs my workers aren’t even allowed on the jobsite unless they join a union 4) By requiring me to use an unknown workforce (those from the union hall) I have to put more money in the job to account for unknown productivity, vs. known productivity of our existing skilled and qualified crews.

DT July 16, 2009 at 9:20 am

Signing a PLA raises my costs and exposes my workforce to union organizing and intimidation.

My company offers competitive wages and benefits.

Our workers are more efficinet because we are not subject to union work practices.

Our trades people undergo apprenticeship training and are just as skilled as union workers, but have the flexibility to innovate execution methods to achieve shorter schedules and lower costs.

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