On June 3, Reps. Clay Higgins, R-La., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., hosted a briefing on the use of project labor agreements and the effects on the American construction workforce. Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, joined other state and industry stakeholders to discuss the Biden administration’s final rule mandating PLAs on federal construction projects of $35 million or more that went into effect on Jan. 22. The briefing was widely attended by congressional staff whose members are concerned about the negative impact the final rule will have on contractors around the country.

“When mandated by government agencies, PLAs needlessly increase construction costs by 12% to 20%, reduce opportunities for qualified large and small contractors and their craft and noncraft employees and exacerbate the construction industry’s worker shortage of more than half a million people by discriminating against the nearly 90% of the industry workforce that is not unionized,” said Brubeck.

Prior to the briefing, a collation of industry stakeholders led by ABC sent a letter to U.S. House of Representatives members expressing concerns with the final rule and advocating for legislation that would reverse it. The letter and briefing highlighted the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1209/S. 537), introduced by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., that protects federal and federally assisted construction contracts from government-mandated PLAs and will allow merit shop contractors to have a fair chance at competing to rebuild America. The bill currently has 118 co-sponsors in the House and staff were encouraged to recommend co-sponsorship to their member. In addition, ABC and other stakeholders expressed support for the Congressional Review Act Resolution (H.J. Res 132) introduced by Rep. Higgins that would nullify the final rule.

On March 28, ABC and its Florida First Coast chapter filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville in response to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s Dec. 22, 2023, final rule––and the related Dec. 18, 2023, White House Office of Management and Budget Memo––implementing President Joe Biden’s Feb. 4, 2022, Executive Order 14063. In its legal filing, ABC asserted that the Biden administration’s PLA rule is beyond the scope of executive authority and violates the Constitution, the First Amendment and the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint also notes that the rule violates the Federal Property Administrative Services Act, the Competition in Contracting Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, among others, by limiting competition and forcing large and small businesses to sign union agreements as a condition of winning a federal contract for construction services.

Learn more at abc.org/bidenplafaqs and the Build America Local coalition website at BuildAmericaLocal.com.