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Industry groups urge Trump to scrap PLA mandate on federal projects

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, an opportunity he’s expected by many to use to list details of his long-promised infrastructure plan, construction-industry groups have asked him to go a step further by eliminating government-mandated project-labor agreements on federal projects.

Last week, the Associated Builders and Contractors and a coalition of other industry associations sent a letter to Trump asking that he no longer require the agreements, known as PLAs, on both federal projects and projects receiving federal assistance.

PLAs are usually brokered between contractors and union groups. Among other things, the agreements offer guarantees that union workers will not strike, demonstrate or take other actions that could slow down a project. In return, owners will often agree to hire only union companies.

Former President Barack Obama required PLAs on federal jobs.

The ABC, a group that largely represents non-union contractors, argues in its letter that eliminating PLA requirements on public projects would “create a level playing field in the procurement of government construction contracts.”

“If the Trump Administration creates an inclusive policy so all Americans and all qualified companies can make America’s infrastructure great again, it would be a win-win for taxpayers and the U.S. economy,” Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, said in a statement.

Among the other groups that have signed the letter are the American Council of Engineering Companies, American Road & Transportation Builders Alliance and National Association of Home Builders.

The Associated General Contractors of America did not add its name to that list, but has for some time argued mandatory PLAs should be removed from federal projects.

“We have been urging the administration to repeal President Obama’s PLA Executive Order since the transition days,” Brian Turmail, AGC of America spokesman, said in an email.

Trump is scheduled to address Congress in his first State of the Union speech on Tuesday. He is expected to speak in detail about his plans to repair the country’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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