President Obama recently signed his fourth labor-friendly executive order, this time allowing the federal government to require project labor agreements (PLAs) on large-scale federal construction projects. This order overturns a prior order from President Bush disallowing PLAs. Click here to read the text of the order. This latest action follows Obama’s three executive orders earlier this month that reversed a trio of Bush-era orders governing the way federal contractors deal with union workers.
A PLA is defined as "a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project." PLAs are relatively common in the construction industry. Unions tend to like project labor agreements as they streamline the bargaining process and generally set high wages and benefits, making it easier for union contractors who pay those higher wages and benefits to get the work.
Not surprisingly, union officials are very happy about the latest order. You can bet non-union builders and contractors aren’t as happy. Click here to read the Associated Builders and Contractors’ position on PLAs.