ABC Members Voice Opposition to President’s Project Labor Agreement Executive Order

2 September 24, 2009  Federal Construction, Uncategorized

The FAR Council’s comment period on a proposed rule that would implement President Obama’s Feb. 6 Executive Order 13502 relating to federal PLAs closed on 9/23 at midnight.

Today, ABC National released the following press release (pdf) highlighting ABC member contractors and employees’ opposition to the proposed rule and President Obama’s costly and discriminatory Executive Order 13502.



Contact: Gail Raiman, (703) 812-2073

Gerry Fritz, (703) 812-2062

Washington, D.C. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today announced that 402 of its member companies and 504 company employees submitted a total of 906 comments to the administration in opposition to a proposed rule to implement President Obama’s Feb. 6 Executive Order 13502. The proposed rule would, for the first time, establish a policy of “encouraging” federal agencies to consider imposing union-only project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects whose total costs exceed $25 million dollars.

In comments filed with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council, ABC members argued that their companies would be discouraged from bidding on projects because PLAs discriminate against their employees. Employees said that under PLAs, they would be forced to pay union dues; they would not benefit from employer contributions into union pension plans unless they were to join a union; and they may be denied employment altogether under union hall hiring requirements.

“There is no question that government-mandated project labor agreements hurt competition on construction contracts from nonunion contractors and their employees, which comprise 84 percent of the U.S. construction workforce,” said 2009 ABC National Chairman Jerry Gorski, president of Gorski Engineering, Inc., Collegeville, Pa. “When the federal government sets aside work for a favored few, the result is that hardworking taxpayers pay the price. PLAs increase the cost of construction by mandating inefficient and archaic union work rules and limit the pool of potential quality bidders, all without any increased economy or efficiency to federal procurement.”

In its own comments to the FAR Council, ABC stated that neither Executive Order 13502 nor the proposed rule provided support for the assertion that PLAs promote economy and efficiency in federal procurement. In addition, ABC’s comments argued that PLAs will dramatically reduce competition and increase costs on federal construction projects, discouraging bids from small businesses, including minority firms.

A new study released Sept. 23 by the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), titled “Project Labor Agreements on Federal Construction Projects: A Costly Solution in Search of a Problem,” found that PLAs significantly increase construction costs on federal projects. The BHI review of federal construction projects from 2001-2008, the years under which government-mandated PLAs were prohibited, also revealed that there were no instances in which labor disruptions occurred that resulted in significant project delays or increased costs. The study concluded that “the justifications for PLAs provided by Executive Order 13502 are unproven.” The full BHI report can be found at


Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national association with 79 chapters representing 25,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms with two million employees.  ABC’s regulatory comments can be viewed at

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2 Responses to ABC Members Voice Opposition to President’s Project Labor Agreement Executive Order

kristin wright November 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Is it true that if you are non nion and win a bid on a PLA project you do have to put in to their benefit package which for casework is 91.00 a day…We pay health/benefit to our workers but the unions demand we pay into theirs which is illegal….Their statement to me was if I wanted to work on any of these jobs, even though I won the bid ie free market I still would have to contribute and they would hold our workers contrib. for 5 yrs..Not only that but the health ins. they want funds for equals 872.00 per month. 5.45x40hrs.x4weeks. Average age of worker is 25-34..Their policy is 275.00 max on a regulare blue shield program..How do they get away with this????

Ben Brubeck November 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm

You have identified a key problem with government-mandated PLAs and why they unfairly benefit unionized shops and harm merit shop contractors and employees. Yes, PLA terms can force contractors to pay into union benefit plans. It is very likely contributions to the union benefit plans on behalf of your employees will be held indefinitely by the unions until the employee vests in the union plan and/or joins a union. If they don’t it will be forfeited to the plan.

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