On Monday, the Biden administration announced a final rule requiring project-labor agreements on federal construction
projects costing more than $35 million. The regulation from the General Services Administration stems from President Joe Biden’s2022 executive order mandating the use of these commitments, in which employers agree beforehand to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with one or more unions on large federal projects.
“This means that projects funded by my Investing in America agenda will move faster and without delays, giving taxpayers a better bang for their buck. Workers will have the security and peace of mind that collectively bargained wages and benefits bring better pathways to good-paying jobs and stronger health and safety protections,” Biden said in a statement. Big-ticket construction projects are set to proliferate across the country in the coming years as a result of the mix of spending packages hammered out by Congress and the Biden administration in his first two years in office — including the infrastructure deal ,the CHIPS and Science Act and green energy investments included in the
bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act.
Supporters of PLAs, including the Biden administration, believe they promote good-paying jobs and help keep federal
projects on track by establishing processes to defuse possible labor disputes. There are roughly 200,000 workers on federal projects who stand to benefit from the rule, according to a fact sheet provided
by the White House. Republicans and builders oppose such requirements, arguing that they drive up the cost of construction projects, are a stop unions and exclude non-union firms.
What’s next: The Associated Builders and Contractors, an industry group that has challenged similar pro-union
requirements in the past, quickly raised the possibility of future court fights.
“Absent a successful legal challenge, this executive overreach will reward powerful special interests with government
construction contracts at the expense of taxpayers and the principles of free enterprise and fair and open competition in
government procurement,” Ben Brubeck, the group’s vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, said in a statement