According to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of 2022 state union membership data published recently by UnionStats.com, at least nine out of 10 construction workers in private industry do not belong to a union in 26 states, up from 24 states in 2021. Nationwide, a record 88.3 percent of construction workers do not belong to a union, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicate, up from 87.4 percent in 2021.
“Data continue to suggest that the vast majority of construction industry professionals freely choose not to join a union,” says ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “This illustrates why it makes no sense for the [White House] to continue to advance controversial policies requiring workers on federal and federally assisted construction projects to join a union and/or pay union dues through schemes like project labor agreements and other anti-competitive and inflationary policies. Worker choice and freedoms create immense value for taxpayers and the construction industry, yet the administration continues to undermine these principles with burdensome regulations that needlessly raise costs on taxpayer-funded construction projects and steer contracts to unionized contractors and workers.”
The construction industry awaits a final rule implementing White House Executive Order 14063, which requires project labor agreements on federal construction projects of $35 million or more. Research has found government-mandated PLAs increase infrastructure project costs by 12 percent to 20 percent. White House officials are also pushing state and local governments applying for more than $250 billion in federal infrastructure grants to require PLAs in order to enhance their ability to receive federal money. Such executive overreach will also exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage of more than half a million people by excluding the 88 percent of the industry that chooses not to join a union and will undermine taxpayer investments in America’s infrastructure and clean energy projects, ABC contends.
“We will continue to challenge anti-competitive regulations that favor special interests and advocate for all construction workers to be welcome to build taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects,” Brubeck affirms.