The men and women in the nation’s building and construction trades won a major victory today when President Obama signed an executive order overturning the Bush administration’s ban on project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal and federally funded construction.
The ban was one of the first orders signed by former President George W. Bush when he took office in 2001.
Mark H. Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), praised Obama’s action, saying:
The Bush anti-PLA executive order was exactly the type of special interest-driven politics and policy that American voters rejected overwhelmingly last November.
We acknowledge and praise this executive order as being one of the first steps in ushering in a new, more pragmatic and value-conscious approach to governing.
Project labor agreements generally set wages and establish work rules and methods of settling grievances on large multi-contractor construction projects.
For more than 70 years before the Bush order, project labor agreements benefited communities, employers and workers by ensuring fair wages and benefits and on-time completion of projects.
Ayers says project labor agreements provide maximum benefit to construction users; union and non-union workers; union and non-union contractors; lenders and insurance companies; and taxpayers.
Project Labor Agreements are frequently negotiated to address a wide range of local and social needs, including the assurance of hiring of local residents, and outreach programs designed to offer local residents the opportunity for a career in the skilled trades.
Today’s action follows Obama’s three executive orders last week that reversed a trio of Bush-era orders governing the way federal contractors deal with union workers.
The new orders:
Require federal service contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change.
Reverse a Bush order requiring federal contractors to post notice that workers can limit financial support of unions serving as their exclusive bargaining representatives.
Prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses meant to influence workers deciding whether to form a union and engage in collective bargaining.
Let the pendulum swing.