On April 26, 18 GOP Governors sent a letter to the White House in opposition to President Biden’s Executive Order 14063 requiring federal construction contracts of $35 million or more to be subjected to project labor agreements.
“As governors, we support policies that ensure robust competition for taxpayer-funded construction projects that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure on an even playing field,” the governors wrote. “We oppose Executive Order 14063 requiring controversial government-mandated project labor agreements on federal […] construction contracts funded by taxpayers exceeding $35 million. We call on you to be equitable in your treatment of America’s construction workers whether union or nonunion. In short, the aforementioned policies will undermine taxpayer investment in billions of dollars of forthcoming public works projects financed by the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021 and additional bipartisan legislation passed by Congress, all of which was signed into law free from language requiring or encouraging the use of PLAs.
“We ask that the Office of Management and Budget––along with respective federal agencies charged with implementation, grant programs, draft regulations and guidance related to legislation funding infrastructure projects––afford states and localities maximum regulatory flexibility free from anti-competitive and costly pro-PLA policies,” the governors wrote. “Doing so will deliver more value to taxpayers and create opportunities for all, including small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses and workers in the construction industry, to compete to build America.”
“Government-mandated project labor agreements are union-backed schemes that increase the cost of public works by up to 20%, stifle competition needed to build high-quality construction projects and ultimately shortchange hard-working taxpayers,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “ABC applauds these 16 governors for fighting for inclusive, win-win policies that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure safely, on time and on budget. ABC will continue to fight for the 87% of construction workers who do not belong to a union and their opportunity to participate in federal and federally assisted infrastructure projects in their own communities.”
Likewise, on March 7, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., wrote letters to the White House in opposition to the proposal, which is expected to impact about 120 federal construction contracts annually, valued at a total of $10 billion to $13 billion dollars.
These letters are critical in assisting ABC and the BuildAmericaLocal.com’s coalition efforts to push back against the Biden administration’s efforts to impose restrictive project labor requirements on taxpayer-funded federal construction projects throughout the country.
In a statement, ABC noted that President Biden’s executive order will exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled workforce shortage of 650,000 workers and needlessly increase construction costs and reduce opportunities for local contractors and skilled tradespeople. Government-mandated PLAs increase the cost of construction by 12% to 20%, reduce competition from 87.4% of the construction industry workforce and steal up to 34% of wages from the few nonunion workers allowed to work on a PLA jobsite.
On Feb. 23 ABC joined 18 other construction and business organizations in a coalition letter (PDF) to the White House opposing Executive Order 14063 and championing the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1284/S. 403) which Rep. Budd and Sen. Young introduced this Congress.
Stay tuned for additional information and updates regarding President Biden’s PLA policies and FOCA.