Congressman Roscoe Bartlett's amendment was approved that would ensure fair and open bidding by all qualified businesses competing for federal military construction contracts authorized by the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (FY 13 NDAA). Congressman Bartlett's amendment to H.R. 4310 was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 211-209.
Congressman Bartlett said, "Approval of my amendment is an important step to ensure that 90% of Maryland's construction companies which are non-union will have the opportunity to compete and bid in a fair and open process for federal military construction contracts that are authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act. This is a permissive amendment that makes it optional, rather than mandatory to require Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for construction contracts."
The Bartlett amendment was cosponsored by Congressman Jeff Flake. It mirrors President George W. Bush's Executive Order No. 13202, and complies with the Allbaugh and Boston Harbor cases providing neutral treatment of all businesses, whether union shops or non-union to bid on federal construction contracts. The practical effect of government-mandated PLAs is non-union businesses, large and small are discouraged from competing for federal contracts. The government loses on two fronts; cost and labor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 14% of the construction labor force is unionized which means 86% of the US construction workforce is non-union and PLAs discourage their employers from bidding. Studies have found that the PLA mandate increases the cost of construction between 12 % - 18% compared to similar non-PLA projects subject to prevailing wage laws.