Among President Obama's most generous favors to labor unions was his early excutive order encouraging federal agencies to use Project Labor Agreements in federally funded construction projects. This has been a boon for the 10 to 15 percent of the construction industry that uses union labor, especially considering the billions in stimulus projects. But it hasn't been so sweet for the other 85 to 90 percent, who find themselves discriminated against and put at an automatic disadvantage when bidding.
The House Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to eliminate PLAs on federal projects under the military construction appropriations bill.
The Associated Builders and Contractors are gleeful, of course:
“This is a victory for free enterprise, open competition and taxpayers,” said ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr. “This will result in increased competition, reduced costs and job creation for an industry suffering from an unemployment rate of more than 17 percent...Special interest kickbacks like PLAs have no place in construction projects funded with taxpayer dollars. Federal projects should be awarded competitively and without regard to union affiliation."