WASHINGTON, DC — Associated Builders and Contractors has released a statement in which the trade association applauded the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability for their passage of the Fair and Open Competition Act, H.R. 1209. FOCA would shield federal and federally-assisted construction contracts from government-mandated project labor agreements that ABC calls unfair to merit shop contractors and their skilled employees.
“FOCA would ensure that all of America’s workers and qualified contractors are provided the opportunity to compete to build long-lasting, quality projects at the best price for hardworking taxpayers,” said Kristen Swearingen, ABC Vice President of Legislative & Political Affairs. “PLA mandates discourage experienced contractors and the 88.3% of the US private construction workforce that chooses not to join a union from competing to win taxpayer-funded contracts to rebuild America’s infrastructure.”
In support of its position, ABC cited reports from the Rand Corporation, the Beacon Hill Institute and others that PLAs increase construction costs by 12% to 20% and result in fewer infrastructure projects and jobs created by federal investment in America’s roads, bridges, schools and water and energy infrastructure. President Joe Biden’s February 2022 Executive Order 14063 requires federal general contractors and subcontractors to enter into a PLA as a condition of winning a contract to perform services on a federal construction project worth $35 million or more.
ABC submitted more than 40 pages of comments to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council calling on the Biden administration to withdraw a controversial proposed rule codifying EO 14063, which is expected to be issued later this year In addition, ABC has identified a significant number of Biden administration federal agency grants—totaling more than $250 billion for infrastructure projects procured by state and local governments—subject to language and policies promoting PLA mandates and preferences for federally assisted construction projects.