President Biden to Sign Sweeping EO Requiring PLAs on Federal Projects


Later today, President Biden will sign an executive order to require the use of project labor agreements on federal construction projects above $35 million at an event at the Ironworkers Local 5 union hall in Upper Marlboro, Md. 

Read ABC’s statement on the executive order here.
Read the White House’s release on the executive order here.

Reports note that the order will go into effect immediately and will apply to provisions of the recently passed $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that are direct federal procurement, which excludes construction projects financed through grant dollars to non-federal entities. The White House estimates that the Order could affect $262 billion in federal government construction contracting and affect nearly 200,000 workers on federal construction contracts. The order will also direct the departments of Defense and Labor, along with the Office of Management Budget, to “lead a training strategy for the nearly 40,000-person strong contracting workforce on the implementation of this Order’s policy.”

ABC will continue to fight for fair and open competition and has successfully pushed back against government-mandated PLAs on federal contracts since the 2009 Obama administration executive order 13502, which encouraged federal agencies to mandate project labor agreements on large-scale federal construction projects exceeding $25 million in total cost on a case-by-case basis and permits recipients of federal assistance to mandate PLAs on state and local public works projects. From FY2009 to FY2020, 1,189 contracts exceeding $25 million worth a total of $117 billion were procured by the federal government. ABC members won 976 (51.76%) of these contracts, valued at $67.5 billion (57.42% of total value) thanks to ABC’s advocacy efforts as just 12 projects worth a total of $1.25 billion were subject to a PLA mandate.

Government-mandated PLAs increase the cost of construction 12% to 20%, reduce competition from 87.4% of the construction industry workforce and steal up to 34% of wages from the token few nonunion workers allowed to work on a PLA jobsite.

ABC will be updating members with additional information in reaction to the E.O. and has activated our federal coalition in opposition to government-mandated PLAs. ABC will continue to push grassroots messaging and urge U.S. House and Senate lawmakers to cosponsor the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1284/S. 403), which would prevent the federal government from mandating PLAs as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts. ABC members are encouraged to visit the ABC Action Center and urge their members of Congress to support FOCA.