Construction coalition counters project labor agreement scheme

Sources: Associate Builders and Contractors, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

The Associated Builders and Contractors, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association and 12 other industry organizations—collectively representing tens of thousands of companies and millions of employees—oppose a recent White House move to require government-mandated project labor agreements (PLA) on federal or federally assisted construction contracts.

“We applaud the administration’s leadership to improve and build new roads, bridges, schools, affordable housing and communications, water, energy and transportation systems in urgent need of public and private investment,” the coalition writes in a letter to the White House. “However, Executive Order 14063, which requires PLAs on federal construction contracts exceeding $35 million, and other policies encouraging PLAs on federally assisted projects via grant programs administered by federal agencies for state and local governments, will undermine taxpayer investment in public works projects financed by the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021 and additional bipartisan legislation passed by Congress and signed into law free from language requiring or encouraging the use of PLAs.”

“The flawed rationale justifying pro-PLA policies ignores marketplace realities and broad opposition to government-mandated PLAs within the construction industry. Hardworking taxpayers are getting less and paying more when PLAs are encouraged or mandated by the government on federal and federally assisted construction projects,” the coalition contends. “In addition, PLA requirements will exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage of nearly 500,000 workers, reduce competition from experienced contractors and undermine the administration’s ability to meet its infrastructure, affordable housing and clean energy agenda without strong participation from businesses and construction workers directly harmed by anti-competitive and costly pro-PLA policies.”