Associated Builders and Contractors today applauded a letter sent to President Joe Biden by 16 Republican governors, led by Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Bill Lee of Tennessee, opposing the Biden administration’s policies promoting government-mandated project labor agreements on taxpayer-funded construction projects.

“As governors, we support policies that ensure robust competition for taxpayer-funded construction projects that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure on an even playing field,” the governors wrote. “We oppose Executive Order 14063 requiring controversial government-mandated project labor agreements on federal […] construction contracts funded by taxpayers exceeding $35 million. We call on you to be equitable in your treatment of America’s construction workers whether union or nonunion. In short, the aforementioned policies will undermine taxpayer investment in billions of dollars of forthcoming public works projects financed by the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021 and additional bipartisan legislation passed by Congress, all of which was signed into law free from language requiring or encouraging the use of PLAs.

“We ask that the Office of Management and Budget––along with respective federal agencies charged with implementation, grant programs, draft regulations and guidance related to legislation funding infrastructure projects––afford states and localities maximum regulatory flexibility free from anti-competitive and costly pro-PLA policies,” the governors wrote. “Doing so will deliver more value to taxpayers and create opportunities for all, including small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses and workers in the construction industry, to compete to build America.”

“Government-mandated project labor agreements are union-backed schemes that increase the cost of public works by up to 20%, stifle competition needed to build high-quality construction projects and ultimately shortchange hard-working taxpayers,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “ABC applauds these 16 governors for fighting for inclusive, win-win policies that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure safely, on time and on budget. ABC will continue to fight for the 87% of construction workers who do not belong to a union and their opportunity to participate in federal and federally assisted infrastructure projects in their own communities.”

On Feb. 4, President Biden signed Executive Order 14063 requiring federal construction contracts greater than $35 million to be subjected to project labor agreements. ABC blasted the EO, calling it anti-competitive for small businesses and costly for taxpayers.

On Feb. 15, ABC and 15 organizations representing tens of thousands of companies and millions of employees in the construction industry sent a letter to President Biden outlining concerns with the EO.

On Feb. 28, ABC and a coalition of 19 organizations from the construction industry and the business community sent a letter to Congress in support of the Fair and Open Competition Act (S. 403/H.R. 1284), which would restrict government-mandated PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction projects.

On March 7, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., led a group of 42 Senate Republicans in sending a letter to President Biden opposing the EO, saying that “a fair and open bidding process for federal construction projects would guarantee the best value for hardworking taxpayers located in all geographies and regions across the United States.”

On March 8, Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., and 59 House members signed a letter to President Biden saying that PLA mandates and preferences will “deny critical construction jobs to local workers and small businesses,” urging the White House to refrain from “attaching strings to infrastructure funding that create discriminatory barriers to recovery.”

On April 6, ABC sent a letter to the White House with more than 1,200 signatures from members and chapters voicing strong opposition to President Biden’s PLA EO. The letter also lays out concerns with other federal agency policies promoting PLAs on federally assisted construction projects, which would affect the allocation of funds under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law last year, as well as other laws providing funds for state and local governments to improve its infrastructure.

Visit the construction industry coalition website to learn more.