On Wednesday morning, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform held a hearing entitled "Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation: The Cost of Doing Business in the Construction Industry". A main focus of the hearing was President Obama’s Executive Order 13502. That EO, one of four issued during the President’s first month in office in 2009, allows federal executive agencies to require contractors on large-scale government construction projects to enter into a project labor agreement as a condition of being awarded a contract. A “project labor agreement” (PLA) is a pre-hire collective-bargaining agreement – often involving multiple employers and multiple unions – designed to systemize labor relations at a construction site.
Last month, Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) introduced a bill designed to reverse Executive Order 13502. The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 735) and a similar bill (S. 119) would largely invalidate the President’s Order in the absence of special circumstances
Witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing included Ennis Electric Co. CEO John Ennis, Jr., on behalf of NFIB; Figg Engineering CEO Linda Figg on behalf of CIRT; Maurice Baskin, Esq. on behalf of Associated Builders & Contractors; Bay Electric CEO Jay Biagas; Michigan State Professor Dr. Dale Berman; Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service Robert Peck; Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Daniel Gordon; and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OHS, Hon. David Michaels. The prepared statements and submissions of these witnesses are already available, and the video of the hearing will be available, at the Committee’s website.
More resources & information:
- "U.S. House Oversight & Government Reform Committee to Examine Costly Government-Mandated PLA’s" — ABC’s TheTruthAboutPLAs blog.
- Labor Relations Today’s "Project Labor Agreements" tag
- MLA Government Contracts Advisory, “President Obama Signs Executive Order Allowing Agencies to Require Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) on Large Construction Projects,” Feb. 10, 2009.
- "Project Labor Agreements: A Better Deal For All" — The White House Middle Class Task Force