By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

ARTBA and 12 other trade association allies are urging support of the “Fair and Open Competition” Act. The Senate legislation (S. 622) would prevent mandatory “project labor agreements” (PLA), which require the use of union labor, on federal and federal-aid projects.

The vast majority of ARTBA members—whether they employ union or non-union workers—oppose mandatory PLAs. Among other shortcomings, these agreements can undermine existing collective bargaining agreements and create union jurisdiction issues. PLAs also limit competition among contractors, which can drive up costs.

In a March 14 letter, ARTBA and the other associations noted the legislation would “curb waste and favoritism in the procurement of construction projects and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly by letting the market determine if a PLA is appropriate.”

The Senate legislation would prohibit PLAs from being mandated, while still allowing parties to enter into such agreements voluntarily. Companion House legislation is expected soon.