The Fight to Veto Construction Industry Federally Mandated PLAs

PLAs are construction industry project labor agreements. They are usually created for a specific project and are enforceable for the life of that particular project contract. They guarantee the use of union labor, and unions are supportive of PLAs.

…To prohibit financial investment by a United States person in foreign industrial defense corporations with substantial contracts with, ties to, or support from, the Chinese military and affiliated entities, and for other purposes.HR1093/Stop Funding the PLA Act

While AGC supports the Fair and Open Competition Act, it is not expected to legislatively advance given the political dynamics in Congress.agc.org

PLA benefits include:

  • Ensuring project completion on-time/within-budget
  • Making large projects easier to manage
  • Providing contractors with reliable/uninterrupted supply of qualified workers
  • Reducing labor strife; prohibiting strikes/lockouts
  • Uniform wages, benefits, overtime pay, hours, working conditions, etc. for major construction projects

Increasing apprehension about government-mandated PLAs on federal projects for agencies like the Veteran Affairs and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as federally funded construction projects has led to action to stop PLA funding.

In February 2021, The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced support for the Fair and Open Competition Act sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Reps. Ted Budd (D-N.C.), and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.).

ABC says PLAs encourage a “rigged bidding process” that forces contractors to:

  • Follow “inefficient” union work rules
  • Obtain apprentices exclusively from union apprenticeship programs
  • Pay into union benefit/multi-employer pension plans that nonunion employees are unlikely to ever access
  • Require existing workforce to accept union representation, pay union dues and/or join a union as a condition of employment on a PLA jobsite
  • Use union-hiring halls instead of utilizing their existing workforce

Construction firms can continue to voluntarily enter into a PLA. But the ABC is committed to fight mandated PLAs on federally funded jobs.

Build America Local says it reduces competition and increases project costs. The organization says ensuring fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects leads to saving money and more opportunities for small- and minority-owned businesses.

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