Yet another editorial board – the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – has come out in opposition to President Obama’s scheme to funnel federal construction contracts to Big Labor through project labor agreements (PLAs) via Executive Order 13502 (“The Union Label: Paying Off Big Labor,” 5/21/10):
Rewarding Big Labor for political support, the Obama administration is virtually shutting nonunion contractors out of federal construction projects worth at least $25 million — and sticking taxpayers with untold millions in higher costs.
Just weeks after taking office, President Obama signed an executive order encouraging use of project labor agreements (PLAs), which require contractors to agree to union representation and work rules. A federal rule implementing that order took effect May 12, benefiting the 15 percent of construction workers who are unionized — and hurting the 85 percent who aren’t.
This, in an industry with 27 percent unemployment. And with study after study showing PLAs hike costs 10 percent to 20 percent — and the rule essentially ending open, competitive bidding for federal construction contracts — taxpayers will feel plenty of pain, too.
But never mind. This White House has major political backers to pay off — by giving organized labor a stranglehold on federal construction contracts that, by the way, practically guarantees increased contributions to union retirees’ underfunded pension plans.
This new rule is, as The Wall Street Journal put it, “a raw display of political favoritism.” And a sickening one at that.