President Biden signed an executive order on Friday giving labor unions a massive boost by requiring union labor and work rules on all major federal construction projects.
The order will mandate that all federal construction projects over $35 million must use “project labor agreements.” The agreements are collective bargaining pacts between unions and contractors which set wages, employment conditions and dispute resolution.
Speaking at Iron Workers Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Mr. Biden said the executive order will save taxpayer money because, under the project labor agreements, or PLAs, potential conflicts will be ironed out ahead of time.
When big construction projects are completed efficiently with the highest degree of professionalism, it’s good for the American taxpayer,” he said.
Mr. Biden’s order will apply to $262 billion of federal construction contracts and impact nearly 200,000 workers, the White House said.
Those totals will likely surge because the federal government is set to begin a massive building spree following the passage of Mr. Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
The order went into effect immediately after it was signed at an event featuring labor leaders, Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.
Unions have long argued for PLAs, saying they can smooth out potential conflicts ahead of construction. Critics counter that they make construction more expensive.
PLAs have become somewhat a ping-pong ball between different administrations. Democratic presidents require them for federal contracts and Republican presidents don’t.