America’s labor unions helped president Obama win the election, and now it looks like he’s quietly returning the favor.
With little fanfare President Obama signed an executive order in February promoting the use of so-called project labor agreements for any construction project that uses more than $25 million in federal funds. The agreements establish upfront the rules and wages for all employees on a project. With roughly 15% of the U.S. construction workforce unionized and $111 billion of stimulus money set aside for infrastructure projects, the executive order should soon yield a boon for organized labor, whose ranks are down from the 20.6% that was unionized in 1990.
ABC member Brett McMahon is quoted in the article:
Critics say the Obama administration is using its leverage to channel federal stimulus money to unions as political payback for their support during his campaign in critical Midwestern battleground states like Ohio and Michigan. With the Employee Free Choice Act–which could help boost union membership–stalled in Congress, unions are looking for other ways to increase their membership.
“If unions start to die, what will the Democrats replace them with?” says Brett McMahon, a Maryland-based construction executive and member of the Associated Builders and Contractors industry group.
Brett McMahon’s assessment of PLAs is on the money and so is Forbes.com when it comes to reporting about costly and discriminatory PLAs.