Today, senior officials from the Biden-Harris Administration announced a final rule implementing the President’s Executive Order 14063 requiring Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for most large-scale Federal construction projects.  This rule will help ensure that large Federal construction projects are completed efficiently and on time, while also supporting high quality jobs.  The rule will empower workers as the President’s agenda rebuilds America’s infrastructure—a key pillar of Bidenomics.

The rule will promote increased stability in Federal contracting while uplifting workers in communities across the nation.  The rule requires the use of PLAs—a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement unique to construction—for large Federal construction projects, where total estimated cost to the Federal Government is $35 million or more (with limited exceptions).  By requiring all parties—contractors, subcontractors, and unions—to negotiate set terms that govern project construction, the rule will lead to increased efficiency.

In expanding the use of PLAs on large Federal construction contracts, the new final rule promotes economy and efficiency in Federal procurement by:

  • Eliminating the risk of delay associated with labor unrest;
  • Ensuring parties agree to dispute resolution procedures and mechanisms for labor-management cooperation on matters like safety;
  • Making clear that PLAs may include other provisions designed to support workers from underserved communities and small businesses;
  • Helping ensure a steady supply of skilled workers for Federal construction projects; and
  • Promoting competition on Government contracts by allowing all contractors—including those who are non-union—to bid on contracts that require PLAs.

As required by the Executive Order, the Biden-Harris Administration is also publishing a companion guidance document to provide important information to Federal agencies responsible for executing the policy throughout the Government, and to ensure that agencies take full advantage of PLAs on large-scale construction contracts.    

The PLA final rule could provide nearly 200,000 workers on Federal construction projects the benefit of collectively bargained wages, benefits, and safety protections regardless of union membership.  It is estimated that the rule will result in the Federal Government requiring PLAs on a majority of large Federal contracts.  For almost a century, the Federal Government has recognized the advantages of PLAs on complex Federal construction—the construction of the Hoover Dam was a PLA covered project.

The announcement was made by Administrator Robin Carnahan of the General Services Administration, Acting Secretary Julie Su of the Department of Labor, and Deputy Director for Management Jason Miller of the Office of Management and Budget at the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in Cleveland, Ohio.  There, the General Services Administration is working to modernize the building to ensure veterans have the support they need from the Federal Government.  Contractors and unions at this site have entered into a PLA that helps the parties address the unique coordination challenges posed by large projects.  The PLA covering the Celebrezze Federal Building project also supports equitable workforce development pathways into the trades and Registered Apprenticeship. 

The City of Cleveland is furthering the Investing in America agenda (IIA) by using President Biden’s American Rescue Plan funding to make a major investment in workforce training and equitable talent pipelines.  Last year, the City of Cleveland invested $10 million as a part of a collaborative effort between the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, the Construction Employers Association, Cuyahoga Community College, Urban League of Greater Cleveland, and others to support undeserved workers entry into the trades and expand the needed construction workforce.  Leveraging this investment, the collaborative aims to enroll 3,000 underserved workers with training providers and wrap-around services over the next four years. Cities and states across the country have invested American Rescue Plan funds to train thousands of workers for good paying jobs—over 2,000 state and local governments have made over 4,200 investments strengthening our workforce through the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF).

Through IIA, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to promote the use of PLAs on large, complex federally assisted construction projects, to increase the Government’s bang for its buck on large projects and expand opportunities for workers across the nation.  For example, since January 20, 2021, the Department of Transportation has funded hundreds of PLA covered projects on over $10.4 billion of construction across ten states. Other IIA implementing agencies are also following this model, like the Department of Energy which has selected several Hydrogen Hubs that plan to incorporate PLAs into their projects.  The California Hydrogen Hub plans to use PLAs on all of its projects and estimates it will directly create 130,000 construction jobs.

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