The Obama administration is set to issue a rule Tuesday that will allow federal agencies to require that contractors on large-scale public construction projects agree to union representation for workers.
Policies designed to promote union representation on federal construction projects were last in effect during the Clinton administration. President George W. Bush in 2001 issued an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from requiring such agreements.
"Anti-competitive project labor agreements are special-interest kickback schemes that end open, fair and competitive bidding on public projects," said Jim Elmer, National Chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors and president of James W. Elmer Construction Co. in Spokane, Wash. "We will exhaust every opportunity to challenge this policy, which is effectively a federal government endorsement of union set-asides."
Project Labor Agreements: A Better Deal for All
Project Labor Agreements are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements with one or more labor organizations that establish the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.
The use of a Project Labor Agreement can provide structure and stability to large construction projects. PLAs also help ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing workplace safety and health, equal employment opportunity and labor and employment standards. The coordination achieved through PLAs can significantly enhance the economy and efficiency of Federal Construction projects.
Despite their growing use in the private, state and local sectors, Federal use of Project Labor Agreements has been curtailed twice since 1992, including most of the past two decades. Many agency contracting offices have little knowledge of or experience with PLAs. To boost implementation of the President's Executive Order, the Middle Class Task Force convened an Inter-agency PLA Working Group to provide technical assistance to agencies on PLAs.
The [US Vice President's] Middle Class Task Force Working Group on PLAs will continue to compile resources and provide assistance to Agencies as they work to implement EO 13502, helping to coordinate large projects while generating efficiency gains for businesses, the government and taxpayers.