Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) Are Returning to Federal Government Construction Projects

As you know, Project Labor Agreements are management-labor agreements which provide that all work performed on a particular building project will be provided by Union signatory contractors. This kind of agreement insures the public, as well as owners, developers, and contractors that only the most competent, well-trained and efficient labor force available will be used to undertake large construction projects. A PLA also insures labor peace --- since all construction on a project must be by Union signatory contractors, PLAs include provisions eliminating strikes, picketing, and lock outs, no matter what the reason.

President George W. Bush outlawed requiring PLAs on Federal government construction projects by issuing 2 Executive Orders, Order 13202 and Order 13208. For the 8 years of his reign, the Federal government was not allowed to require union-only labor on its building projects.

But President Obama quickly executed Executive Order 13502, mandating that all steps be taken as soon as possible to allow for the return of PLAs to Federal projects.  The OMB (Office of Management and Budget) issued a directive on July 10th mandating that regulations be issued forthwith, and implemented as soon as procedurally possible, to allow for PLAs on Federal projects. And just as important, the OMB directive urged Federal departments to start exploring the use of PLAs even before the new regulations take effect.

The practical effect of this Order and these directives is that PLAs can return to the Federal sector. Once again, after eight years of being trapped in mediocrity and the unpredictability of knowing whether Federal construction would be top quality, it is possible to see a day almost upon us when Federal projects will once again be completed on time, on budget, and with well-trained, effective and efficient Union workers.

These directives have not come a moment too soon. Much construction will soon be underway, using the new “stimulus” funding President Obama and Congress have made available to re-energize the American economy --- and now we can see that much of it will be done by Union workers.

Return Arvhive 2011

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