Vitter Introduces Legislation to Keep Competition in Federal Contracts
U.S. Sen. David Vitter today introduced the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act, which would help ensure that federal contracting practices remain an equal opportunity and openly competitive process. Vitter's legislation would prohibit the practice of attaching restrictive union-only Project Labor Agreements to federal contracts. PLAs mandate that any contractor or subcontractor bidding on a federal construction project abide by a number of labor conditions, including restrictions on wages, benefits and hiring.
"The federal government should not be in the business of taking taxpayers' money to fund projects that exclude more than four out of five workers," said Vitter. "The current system makes these projects discriminatory, anti-competitive and unnecessarily expensive."
In Louisiana, only 7.4 percent of private construction workers belong to a construction labor union, but if union-only PLAs are attached to a federal construction project, non-union Louisiana workers will be locked out of working on that project.
"It is inexcusable that local Louisiana firms and their workers are barred from freely bidding on construction projects in their own town or parish," said Vitter.
Vitter's legislation will now go to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
"Contracts should be awarded based on sound, commonsense criteria. Union affiliation has no place in the criteria for contract bid consideration," Vitter said. "The best bid by the most qualified contractor or subcontractor should always be the winning bid."