ABC members overwhelming reported that government-mandated project labor agreements harm their businesses, hiring and workforce development practices and ability to complete work safely, on time and on budget, according to the results of a December 2018 membership survey published today.
Ninety-eight percent of survey respondents said they were less likely to bid on a taxpayer-funded construction contract if the bid specifications required the winning firm to sign a PLA with labor unions, and 97 percent of survey respondents said a construction contract that required a PLA would be more expensive compared to a contract procured via free and open competition.
A clear majority of the more than 500 survey respondents affirmed that government-mandated PLAs are anti-competitive and discourage quality contractors and the 87.2 percent of U.S. construction workers who choose to not join a union from bidding and working on projects in their own communities, paid for by their own tax dollars. In fact, 97 percent of survey respondents said a PLA would result in worse local hiring outcomes for a project. In addition, almost 90 percent of respondents agreed that a PLA would decrease the hiring of women, veteran and disadvantaged business enterprises and construction workers, which have traditionally been unaffiliated with labor unions.
Currently, 24 states have adopted legislation or executive orders to ensure fair and open competition on state and local taxpayer-funded construction projects by restricting government-mandated PLAs and PLA preferences.
In February 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to mandate PLAs on large-scale federal construction projects exceeding $25 million in total value on a case-by-case basis, and permits states and localities to mandate PLAs on federally assisted projects. ABC has continually advocated to rescind the Obama-era policy and supports measures ensuring fair and open competition on federal and federally assisted construction projects that help taxpayers get the best possible product at the best possible price.
“It would be a real win-win for taxpayers and the U.S. economy if Congress and the Trump administration would create an inclusive policy so all Americans and all qualified companies can fairly compete to rebuild America’s infrastructure,” said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “This common-sense reform would create a level playing field in the procurement of government construction contracts, increase competition, curb construction costs, help small businesses grow and improve America’s infrastructure.”
Note: Article republished from the January 30, 2019, edition of ABC Newsline. ABC has conducted similar membership surveys and most recently published results on member opinions towards government-mandated project labor agreements in October 2013.