On March 11, 2019, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Arizona State Building and Construction Trades Council that aimed to block enforcement of parts of a pro-taxpayer Arizona law restricting government-mandated project labor agreements.
According to court documents, the trades council filed the lawsuit in response to two statutory provisions enacted in 2011 and 2015 that prohibit political subdivisions of the state from requiring bidders for public contracts to enter into PLAs or participate in apprenticeship programs. In their lawsuit, the trades council stated the provisions are pre-empted by various federal laws, including the National Labor Relations Act and the Fitzgerald Act.
However, U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled the suit lacks standing because the trades council has not identified any concrete injury it has suffered or is about to suffer as the result of these provisions, according to court documents.
The judge also dismissed the case for its violation of the 11th Amendment, which bars suits in federal court against states and state officials.
“This ruling solidifies Arizona’s pro-taxpayer law ensuring fair and open competition on public works projects,” said ABC Vice President of Legal, Regulatory and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “A total of 24 states have passed similar measures restricting government-mandated project labor agreements and all legal challenges by PLA advocates to such state measures have ultimately failed.”
In a December 2018 membership survey, ABC found its members strongly oppose government-mandated PLAs on taxpayer-funded construction contracts and said a construction contract that required a PLA would be more expensive and result in poor local hiring outcomes compared to a contract procured via free and open competition.
Additionally, ABC and industry groups have repeatedly asked President Trump to rescind President Obama’s Executive Order 13502, which allows state and local recipients of federal dollars to mandate PLAs on public works projects and encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal contracts to build projects of $25 million or more on a case-by-case basis.