ABC joined a diverse coalition of more than a dozen associations and organizations representing millions of workers in the construction industry in a Feb. 15 letter to President Joe Biden opposing the administration’s new executive order mandating project labor agreements on federal construction contracts of $35 million or more. Executive Order 14063 was signed on Feb. 4.
In the letter, the coalition said the EO and similar policies applying to federally assisted projects “will undermine taxpayer investment in public works projects financed by the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021 and additional bipartisan legislation passed by Congress and signed into law free from language requiring or encouraging the use of PLAs.”
The coalition’s letter further states that the Biden administration’s rationale for pro-PLA policies ignores the fact that government-mandated PLAs can needlessly increase costs to taxpayers and limit competition for contracts by the best-quality contractors. Nine out of 10 contractors and workers are nonunion and are excluded from these contracts. Government-mandated PLAs have also resulted in delays, poor local hiring outcomes and litigation.
In addition, multiple studies of hundreds of taxpayer-funded affordable housing and school construction projects found that government-mandated PLAs increase the cost of construction by 12% to 20% compared to similar non-PLA projects already subjected to state prevailing wage regulations.
The coalition asked for the White House to promote win-win policies that ensure fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects that will ultimately result in savings to taxpayers, more opportunities for all qualified small, minority- and women-owned businesses in the construction industry and the completion of more quality infrastructure projects on time and on budget.