The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a survey requesting information from the construction industry on the potential use of a project labor agreement (PLA) for the construction of the $100 million to $250 million cadet barracks at the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com encourages the merit shop contracting community to respond to the request for information and tell the USACE that government-mandated PLAs harm competition, increase costs, and impede the economy and efficiency of government contracting.
A strong response from the merit shop contracting community is crucial because the USACE is under tremendous pressure from Democrat lawmakers controlled by Big Labor’s lobbyists to mandate a PLA on this project.
Just 23 percent of New York’s construction workforce belongs to a labor union and would exclusively benefit from a virtual monopoly supplying labor to this project.
Responses must be submitted to Shaukat Syed no later than 4 p.m. (EST) on June 15.
USACE and other federal agencies have issued dozens of similar surveys requesting information about the potential use of PLAs on specific construction projects across the country as a result of regulations and federal agency policies stemming from President Obama’s pro-government-mandated PLA Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to mandate PLAs on a case-by-case basis for federal construction projects exceeding $25 million in total cost.
ABC National has taken the opportunity to respond to all PLA surveys as they are issued and encourages the merit shop contracting community to do the same. Responding with accurate and timely information is critical and effective at creating more work for qualified merit shop contractors and their skilled employees
For more information or assistance responding to the PLA survey, contact us here.
PLA Push Promoted by Political Pressure
U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey, a retiring ten term Democrat from upstate New York and U.S. House Appropriations Committee member, has a record of urging the USACE to mandate a PLA on construction projects at West Point.
- In 2010, Rep. Hinchey unsuccessfully pushed for a PLA on three different large-scale construction projects at West Point
- . Following a robust response from the merit shop contracting community, the USACE
- because PLA schemes would not deliver economy or efficiency to these projects.
In late September 2010, TheTruthAboutPLAs.com exposed an unfortunate political motivation behind Rep. Hinchey’s push for PLA mandates. Hinchey received $57,510 in campaign contributions from building trades unions benefiting directly from a PLA mandate in the most recent election cycle, helping Hinchey narrowly defeat a GOP challenger in NY-22.
Check out Rep. Hinchey’s press release and letter to the USACE pushing a PLA mandate at West Point here.
This isn’t the first time a branch of the military was subjected to arm-twisting by a Democrat House Appropriations Committee member determined to steer lucrative federal construction contracts and jobs to unionized contractors and Big Labor via a PLA mandate.
In late 2011, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Northwest mandated a PLA on the construction of a $450 million to $550 million explosives handling wharf #2 (Solicitation No. N4425511R9004) at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington after receiving a letter signed by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) and three other members of the Washington congressional delegation.
Rep. Dicks, the ranking member on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, a powerful position that controls the budgets for federal agencies such as NAVFAC, and the letter’s other Democrats received campaign contributions totaling $814,375 from construction trade unions benefiting from PLA mandates according to information obtained from opensecrets.com.
This type of crony contracting is not uncommon, thanks to President Obama’s pro-PLA Executive Order 13502, which opens the door to needless waste, discrimination and favoritism in federal contracting.
The Kitsap Naval base PLA is the first agreement mandated and successfully implemented by NAVFAC during the Obama administration. It was opposed by the local contracting community but cannot be stopped or reversed.
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com will be watching the West Point and Kitsap base PLA threats closely and will continue to expose examples of federal agencies being pressured to mandate PLAs and impose discriminatory PLA preferences on federal projects as a result of lobbying from special interests, political appointees and politicians.