WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sixteen groups representing the U.S. construction industry sent a letter to the White House opposing a recent executive order signed by President Joe Biden requiring “project labor agreements” in federal construction projects over $35 million.
The order signed by Biden earlier this month, is expected to impact nearly 200,000 workers, the White House has said, and offer a potential boost to workers and unions that negotiate these deals.
Project labor agreements are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors, which set wages, employment conditions, and dispute resolution on specific projects.
“The administration’s flawed rationale justifying pro-PLA policies ignores marketplace realities and broad opposition to government-mandated PLAs within the construction industry,” said the letter, which was sent to the White House on Tuesday.
The groups said the labor agreements will exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage and undermine the Biden administration’s ability to meet its infrastructure, affordable housing and clean energy goals.
The order, which went into effect immediately, comes on the heels of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law by Biden that invests in the country’s roads, ports and bridges.
The new executive order excludes projects funded by grants to non-federal agencies that will make up for a bulk of the projects under the bill.
The groups that sent the letter include Associated Builders and Contractors, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Black Chamber of Commerce among others.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)