Washington, DC; January 12, 2016 – The Construction Employers of America registered its opposition to H.R. 1671, the so-called “Government Neutrality in Contracting Act”, being considered today by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. This ill-conceived legislation threatens cost-effective and timely completion of taxpayer-funded public construction projects. Furthermore, the bill would erode the government’s ability to hire contractors’ who employ, develop, and retain highly skilled workers that are vital to our middle class.
Construction Employers of America supports the appropriate use of construction Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for public construction projects and strongly opposes H.R. 1671. Executive Order 13502 gives government owners the flexibility to use PLAs on a project-by-project basis. H.R. 1671 cannot be considered “neutral.” It would prohibit the use of Project Labor Agreements even if an agency determined it would be the most cost-effective way to ensure high quality construction project is built on-time.
Project Labor Agreements ensure that the federal government selects contractors that can meet all of the terms of the Agreement before a major construction project begins. This greatly reduces the potential for cost overruns. Project Labor Agreements minimize the risk of labor disputes and promote on-schedule and on-budget completion of projects, reducing overall costs and minimizing risks to taxpayers.
PLAs are most often used in the private sector where corporate budget and scheduling decisions are highly scrutinized. PLAs are valued by experienced and cost-conscious owners and large and small construction contractors in the private sector, both union and non-union. Private and public sector PLAs offer a valued and systematic process for methodical planning and scheduling to ensure cost-effective construction projects, allowing more accurate bidding and lower costs. Simply put, they provide projects greater certainty and reduce risks for the government and the American taxpayer.
Major projects completed under Project Labor Agreements include the Kennedy Space Center, The Grand Coulee Dam, Washington Nationals Stadium, and the remodel of Logan Airport.
Construction Employers of America supports consideration and use of PLAs where deemed the best economic interest of the project owner on behalf of the taxpayer. Banning the use of PLA’s on large federal projects in past Presidential Administrations may have found favor in some circles, but did not ensure sound construction management. Economics, not ideology, should drive PLA decisions. We oppose H.R. 1671 and urge the Committee to reject the legislation.
Construction Employers of America is a joint initiative to coordinate action on labor, workforce, and construction issues facing our industries. CEA will work to strengthen the construction industry and provide opportunities for top-quality construction workers to learn and maintain the skills they need to deliver highly productive, quality workmanship that provides the best value to project owners while earning high-value compensation and benefits for themselves, their families, and their communities. Information about the CEA can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.