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4 Associations, 2 Different Viewpoints on PLA Legislation

Four industry associations released differing viewpoints in response to the publication of a proposed Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) rule, implementing an executive order by President Biden which requires federal construction contracts of $35 million or more to be subjected to project labor agreements.

(NECA) Electrical Contractors Welcome Biden Administration’s Proposed Rule on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) Over $35 million

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) celebrates the proposed rule from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) on the Biden Administration’s Executive Order requiring Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects valued at or above $35 million. PLAs have proven to be a time-tested method for ensuring that projects exceed quality construction standards, are completed on-time and under budget, and save taxpayer dollars.

NECA has long championed this issue and is pleased the Biden Administration has swiftly moved forward to craft this proposed rule. All contractors and subcontractors on construction projects will be able to compete for contracts and subcontracts without regard to whether they are otherwise parties to collective bargaining agreements; contain guarantees against strikes, lockouts, and similar job disruptions; set forth effective, prompt, and mutually binding procedures for resolving labor disputes that may arise during the project’s term; and provide other mechanisms for labor-management cooperation on matters of mutual interest and concern, including productivity, quality of work, safety, and health.

“President Franklin Roosevelt instituted PLAs on his New Deal infrastructure,” said Marco Giamberardino, NECA Vice President of Government and Public Affairs “Some of the resulting projects included the Shasta Dam, Hoover Dam, Kitsap Naval Base, Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant, LAX Airport, and countless educational institutions. Furthermore, private businesses such as Disney, the NFL, Walmart, and Toyota have all used PLAs on their signature projects. NECA is excited to translate these benchmarks to perform on a federal level for government buildings, construction, installation, maintenance, and more. The order provides a pathway for increased job opportunities that NECA contractors of all sizes are willing and able to perform at the highest level.”

NECA Government Affairs is currently analyzing the proposed rule and will issue public comments in response by the October 18 deadline.

(ABC) President Biden’s Inflationary PLA Schemes Hurt Taxpayers and Construction Job Creators

WASHINGTON — Associated Builders and Contractors released the following statement in response to the publication of a proposed ruleFederal Acquisition Regulation: Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, implementing President Biden’s Executive Order 14063, which requires federal construction contracts of $35 million or more to be subjected to controversial project labor agreements.

“The Biden administration continues to move forward with its steady drumbeat of burdensome, inflationary and anti-competitive policies that will needlessly raise costs on taxpayer-funded construction projects and steer contracts to unionized contractors and workers,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “The FAR Council’s proposed rule will hand over construction contracts to powerful special interests at the expense of hard-working taxpayers and the principles of free enterprise and fair and open competition in government contracting.

“When mandated by governments, PLAs increase construction costs to taxpayers by 12% to 20%, reduce opportunities for qualified contractors and their skilled craft professionals and exacerbate the construction industry’s worker shortage of 650,000,” said Brubeck. “ABC will continue to fight for quality, experienced contractors harmed by this proposal and the 87.4% of construction workers who have already made the choice not to belong to a union and want a fair opportunity to participate in local federal infrastructure projects––but cannot do so because of PLA schemes.

“ABC estimates this proposal­­­, once finalized, could impact 120 federal contracts valued at $10 billion, which is roughly 40% of the value of federal construction put in place on an annual basis,” said Brubeck. “In addition, ABC condemns Biden administration policies independent of this rulemaking that push PLAs on competitive grant programs administered by federal agencies affecting billions of dollars’ worth of federally assisted construction projects procured by state and local governments.

“ABC will continue to challenge these policies that favor special interests, educate stakeholders about the negative impact of PLAs on federal and federally assisted projects and urge stakeholders to submit comments in response to the proposed rule in late October, which is roughly 60 days from its publication in the Federal Register,” said Brubeck.

(AGCNew Federal Project Labor Agreement Rule Will Prevent Most Firms From Bidding on Federal Construction Projects and Hurt Minority Firms

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, released the following statement in response to the release of new federal rules that will soon require procurement officials to impose project labor agreements for federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more:

“Today’s proposed rules requiring procurement officials to impose project labor agreements for federal construction projects will prevent most contractors from bidding and will harm the disadvantaged firms that contracting rules are meant to help.

“As a follow-up to the executive order President Biden issued in February that seeks to impose project labor agreements on all federal construction projects worth at least $35 million, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council released a proposed rule (FAR Case 2022-003) today. Unfortunately, the proposed rule would cause most federal construction contractors to stop bidding on federal projects, according to a survey the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) conducted in response to the president’s executive order.

“The survey found that nearly three-quarters of federal contractors report they will stop bidding on federal projects if the Biden administration follows through on its plans to impose government-mandated project labor agreements. While 73 percent of surveyed firms report they are currently bidding on federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more, the same percentage, 73 percent, report they would not bid on those projects if a project labor agreement were required.

“Moreover, the federal mandate will make it harder for contractors to partner with small, veteran, minority or disabled-owned firms. Government-mandated project labor agreements require every general contractor or subcontractor performing work to negotiate with or become a party to an agreement with one or more unions. Eighty-two percent of firms report this mandate will make it harder for general contractors to subcontract with small, disadvantaged businesses—such as women-owned, HUBZone, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses—because those firms typically are not accustomed or prepared to operate on a union basis.

“In addition to limiting competition for federal projects, the survey found that imposing project labor agreements will make it harder for firms to find enough workers to hire. Nearly 40 percent of the survey respondents operate under a collective bargaining agreement. Of these respondents, 83 percent said there are not enough union workers to guarantee completion of the project on time and on budget. Among firms that have worked on a project that involved a government-mandated project labor agreement, 67 percent said the agreement made it harder to find workers to hire.

“AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of project labor agreements on federal projects but strongly opposes any government mandate or prohibition of contractors’ use of project labor agreements. Such a choice should not be imposed as a condition to competing for, or performing on, a publicly funded project.

“The proposed rules will result in ‘build back fewer’: fewer firms, hiring fewer people to build fewer projects.”

(IEC) Biden Administration’s PLA Rule Harms the Taxpayer and Small Construction Firms

The following is a statement by the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) in response to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council’s release of the proposed rule implementing President Biden’s Executive Order 14063.

“Yesterday’s release of the proposed rule seeking to impose project labor agreements on all federal projects valued at $35 million or more is an afront to IEC’s merit shop electrical contractor members and their highly skilled workforce that freely chooses not to join a union,” said Jason Todd, IEC’s vice president of government affairs.

“The proposed rule not only seeks to discriminate against the 87% of construction workers that do not belong to a union, but will only exacerbate our country’s record high inflation by limiting competition, all while limiting the ability of small construction firms, that are often minority and women-owned, from partnering with the federal government.”

“IEC will continue to advocate against policies that limit free and open competition for federal construction contracts and unnecessarily increases costs to the American taxpayer.”

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