In a disappointing decision for Building Trades Unions and union construction contractors, the D.C. Court of Appeals reversed a District Court ruling and held that President Bush had the constitutional authority to issue an executive order barring project labor agreements (PLAs) on federally-funded projects. Federal agencies must now abide by the order barring PLAs as a bid specification on federally funded projects.
The ruling negates a district court order, which prohibited the executive order from enforcement. Building Trades Unions and contractor associations alike, sought to permanently block enforcement of the executive order. The Mechanical-Electrical-Sheet Metal Alliance filed a friend-of-the court brief opposing the order noting that:
• the executive order prohibited owner-developers and labor organizations from negotiating PLAs, disrupting the economic balance between management and labor established under the National Labor Relations Act; and that
• PLAs establish uniform working conditions and dispute resolution mechanisms including no-strike clauses which are useful tools in bringing projects to completion, on time, on budget and without disruption from labor disputes.
The appellate court found that the president has broad authority under Article II of the Constitution and that the executive order “is such an exercise of the president’s supervisory authority over the executive branch.”