On July 15, 2009, ABC’s weekly electronic publication, Newsline, conducted an electronic poll of Newsline subscribers about the impact of government mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on bidding for public construction projects. The poll remained open until July 22, 2009 and readers were asked to respond to this question:
“Would you be more likely or less likely to bid on a public construction project that contains a requirement that your firm sign a project labor agreement with a labor union?”
After eliminating survey participants who voted twice, were from the same company and participants who voted for both “more likely” and “less likely” options, there were a total of 456 survey respondents. Of those respondents, 98.46 percent (449 contractors) indicated that they would be less likely to bid on a PLA project. Just 1.53 percent (seven contractors) indicated they would be more likely to bid on a PLA project.
On July 14, ABC National conducted a lengthier four question survey of ABC contractors. One of the questions again measured the impact of government mandated PLAs on bidding on public construction projects. The poll remained open until July 28, 2009 and participants were asked to respond to this similarly worded question:
“If bid specifications for a public construction project contain a requirement that your firm sign a project labor agreement (PLA) with a labor union in order to perform work, would you be more likely to bid or less likely to bid?”
After eliminating responses from participants in the Newsline survey, 233 contractors responded. Of the 233 responses, 100 percent said that they would be less likely to bid on a PLA project.
Combining the results of two surveys, 689 unique contractors would be less likely to bid on a public construction project containing a PLA requirement while just seven contractors said they would be more likely to bid on a PLA project.
This is clear proof, and adds to the overwhelming body of existing evidence, that PLAs injure competition from non-union contractors who employ more than 84 percent of the U.S. construction workforce.
One wonders why President Obama and federal procurement officials would want to implement a government policy that discourages competition from such a large segment of the construction industry via the FAR Council’s proposed rule implementing Executive Order 13502.
Learn how and why PLAs cut competition from qualified contractors and their skilled workforce here.