ABC joined a coalition of construction and business associations urging President Trump to eliminate government-mandated project labor agreements and allow for the vast majority of qualified contractors and their skilled employees to compete for federal and federally assisted taxpayer-funded construction projects.
In the coalition’s March 14 letter, the group called on President Trump to rescind President Obama’s Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies, on a case-by-case basis, to require project labor agreements on federal construction projects exceeding $25 million in total value and permits states and localities to mandate PLAs on federally assisted projects.
“With the current construction boom contributing to a severe shortage of skilled labor, a new fair and inclusive policy encouraging all Americans to compete to rebuild their community’s schools and infrastructure would be a win-win for taxpayers and the U.S. economy,” said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “And with a projected 10-year, $2 trillion infrastructure investment gap in the United States, a policy ensuring taxpayers get the best possible infrastructure at the best possible price is essential to rebuilding America.”
The coalition highlighted that studies of hundreds of taxpayer-funded school construction projects found that PLA mandates increased the cost of construction by 12 percent to 18 percent compared to similar non-PLA projects. In addition, PLAs unfairly discourage competition from quality contractors and their nonunion workers, who comprise of 87.2 percent of the U.S. private construction industry, according to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
ABC and industry groups have repeatedly petitioned President Trump to rescind President Obama’s Executive Order 13502 and replace it with Executive Orders 13202 and 13208, which would prohibit PLAs from being required on federal and federally assisted construction projects, respectively.
A total of 24 states have passed measures restricting government-mandated PLAs, allowing the free market—not the government—to determine if a PLA is appropriate for a construction project, according to the letter.
Additionally, 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.