On Thursday, a coalition of organizations opposed to government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) sent a letter to all Hill offices concerning the final rule issued by the federal government that will open the door to waste and discrimination in federal contracting. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council’s final rule, released April 13, implements President Obama’s Feb. 6, 2009 pro-PLA Executive Order 13502 into federal procurement regulations.
“…curb waste and favoritism in federal construction contracting and ensure that taxpayer-funded construction contracts are awarded on sound principles that will deliver to taxpayers the best possible product at the best possible price…. [and] …puts good policy over politics and ensures fairness and full competition in the federal contracting market.”
American Council of Engineering Companies
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
Electronic Security Association (ESA)
Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc (IEC)
National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association
National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
On Friday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, issued a statement critical of the change in rules governing federal construction contracts, citing concerns that change “could result in higher spending of taxpayer dollars and limit competition of small businesses and start-up companies” in the construction industry:
The new Executive Order repeals one that was in place during the Bush Administration and that required neutrality regarding Federal government contractors working on federal and federally funded construction projects.
“When it comes to spending taxpayer money, the decisions should always be based on the best value possible,” said Senator Collins. “Such decisions should not be driven by partisanship, politics or other agendas. With this change in Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, the Administration has eliminated the practice of awarding contracts based on an objective assessment that puts the taxpayers’ interests first.
“This is one more example where the Administration is taking a position that creates barriers for small businesses and blocks the participation of entrepreneurial, start-up companies. I also am concerned about the cost escalation of our large-scale, federal construction projects due to increased labor costs and shifting management priorities.”
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com will report any reactions and media reports on the coalition letter and the statement from Sen. Collins.