March 28, 2019

Senators Introduce Bicameral Legislation To Protect Taxpayer Dollars In Government Contracting

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Representatives Ted Budd (N.C.-13) and Francis Rooney (Fla.-19) announced introduction of the Fair and Open Competition Act, which would lower government construction costs by increasing competition and opportunities for contractors to bid on government work. The legislation would ensure that the federal government cannot mandate project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal projects, thereby increasing competition and lowering construction costs for taxpayers. 

“With a majority of America’s private construction workers not a part of a union, government-mandated PLAs are inherently unfair. Being raised by a family of small business owners and workers, I understand the economic value of open competition in the workforce,” said Senator Young. “The Fair and Open Competition Actis a simple solution that will lower costs for taxpayers and restore competition in the construction industry.” 

“As a business guy, I know how harmful onerous government regulations are for a company’s competitiveness,” said Senator Perdue. “The Obama Administration’s project labor agreement mandate gave unionized construction companies an unfair advantage in competing for federal contracts. We need to unwind this burdensome rule and give the decision-making power back to the markets. This will level the playing field for small businesses, rein in construction costs, and ultimately save taxpayer dollars.”

When the government mandates that a PLA is used on a federal or federally assisted construction project, workers that chose not to join a union, and open shop contractors, are essentially prevented from working on that project. In America, over 86percent of the private construction workforce does not belong to a union. In Indiana, 72.7percent of the private construction workforce has chosen not to join a union. In North Carolina, 99.7percent of the private construction workforce has chosen not to join a union. When PLAs are mandated by government entities, all of those nonunion workers are essentially prevented from working on a project.

“As someone who has run a business, I know how important it is to have fair and open competition,” said Rep. Budd. “Government-mandated PLAs are not fair, and it’s taxpayers who take the hit. For the sake of our country and our taxpaying constituents, we should be committed to cost-effective construction projects.” 

“PLA’s discourage non-union competition for federal construction projects. As a lifelong businessman, I believe that open competition is best for the market and all businesses should have the opportunity to compete for federal construction projects,” said Rep. Rooney. “That’s why I introduced the Fair and Open Competition Act– to stop federal agencies from discriminating against companies that don’t engage in PLA’s. This will ensure competition for the best price and save taxpayer dollars.” 

Supporters of the Fair and Open Competition Actinclude the American Fire Sprinkler Association, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Business Coalition for Fair Competition, Construction Industry Round Table, Electronic Security Association, Independent Electrical Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, NFIB, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. 

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.