ABC Wins Challenge Against Mandatory Federal PLA in New Jersey

0 August 26, 2010  Federal Construction, Uncategorized

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and its members have stopped another government-mandated project labor agreement (PLA) on a proposed federal construction project.

This is yet another blow to the Obama administration’s effort to implement Executive Order 13502, which encourages the use of PLAs on federal construction costing more than $25 million.

In this most recent victory for taxpayers, ABC was successful in having a mandatory PLA removed from the bidding process for the construction of an Armed Forces Reserve center in Camden, N. J.

Here is ABC’s August 25 press release:

ABC Wins Challenge Against Mandatory Project Labor Agreement on Federal Construction Project in New Jersey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today announced it was successful in having a mandatory project labor agreement removed from the bidding process for the construction of an Armed Forces Reserve center in Camden, N. J.

In response to a bid protest filed with the Government Accountability Office by ABC member Wu & Associates, Inc. of Cherry Hill, N. J., with ABC support and representation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers eliminated a solicitation requirement that would have limited the pool of qualified bidders to contractors willing to sign onto a federal construction project covered by a controversial government-mandated project labor agreement.

“Our company and other quality New Jersey businesses deserve a fair opportunity to provide the public with the best construction product at the best price,” said Wu and Associates President Kirby Wu, AIA. “The wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreement would have cut competition from qualified merit shop contractors and their skilled employees. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision is a real win for all taxpayers, as well as for the people of New Jersey.”

“We hope that other federal agencies will heed this example and recognize that discriminatory project labor agreements only result in increased costs, delayed construction and harm to taxpayers,” said ABC President and CEO Kirk Pickerel. “ABC will continue to fight any attempt to impose project labor agreements on federal construction projects in violation of competitive bidding laws.”

A project labor agreement is a special interest scheme that discourages competition from nonunion contractors and their nonunion employees by requiring a construction project to be awarded only to contractors and subcontractors that agree to recognize unions as the representatives of their employees on that job; use the union hall to obtain workers; obey the union’s restrictive apprenticeship and work rules; and contribute to union pension plans and other funds in which their nonunion employees will never benefit unless they join a union.


Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national association with 77 chapters representing 25,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms with two million employees. Visit us at www..

On Feb. 6, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13502, which repealed a 2001-2008 prohibition on federal PLAs. The Obama order also encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal construction projects whose total costs exceed $25 million. This April, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council issued a controversial final rule, effective May 13, that implements Executive Order 13502 into federal regulations.

Newspaper editorial boards across the country and the construction community widely viewed the pro-PLA Executive Order 13502 as payback to the construction industry’s Big Labor bosses for their past and continued political support of President Obama and congressional Democrats, as PLAs steer lucrative federal construction contracts to unionized contractors and their union employees.

Big Labor bosses deduct union dues from rank-and-file union members to fund PAC contributions and soft money donations to political campaigns of candidates who support PLAs and other pro-Big Labor policies.

This cycle of corruption costs taxpayers dearly, as studies demonstrate PLAs increase the cost of construction between 12 percent and 18 percent while delivering no additional benefits to construction owners or taxpayers.

The PLA racket also stifles job creation for nonunion contractors and their employees. This is particularly offensive because 85 percent of the U.S. construction workforce does not belong to a union and the industry is suffering from 17 percent unemployment as of July 2010.

ABC and have led the fight against similar crony contracting mandates by federal agencies (See U.S. DOL Job Corps Center in Manchester, N.H., the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Lafayette Building in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers technical applications center at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County, FL).

This is a huge win for taxpayers and the 85 percent of the private construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor union.  Here at, we thank the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for doing the right thing and removing this PLA from the bidding process.

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