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Public Statements

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of the Grimm Amendment to H.R. 5854, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. This amendment strikes a provision in the underlying bill that would prevent Federal Government agencies, including the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, from requiring the use of project labor agreements.

A project labor agreement (PLA) is a pre-hire agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment during a construction project. Any contractor--union or non-union--can work on projects under a PLA, as long as they abide by the wages, benefits and other terms of employment negotiated in the agreement. They have been used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on both private and public projects.

In February 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order that encourages Federal agencies to consider requiring the use of PLAs on large-scale construction projects of $25 million or more. The order states that agencies are not required to use PLAs.

In its current form, H.R. 5854 would strike these regulations, and instead discourage commonsense labor agreements on large-scale construction projects. The Grimm Amendment would allow agencies to require project labor agreements when they determine that it is in their interest to do so, which would follow the path of private businesses.

Successful corporations use PLAs to ensure high-quality, on-time work through good jobs with meaningful training programs for local workers. Boeing, Disney, Harvard University, and Toyota are among the large number of private entities that use PLAs. If the agreements make sense for these successful organizations, why would we compromise Federal agencies' ability to use them, especially when we are looking to reduce government spending?

Mr. Chair, the priority of Congress should not only be to create jobs, but to raise the living standards of the middle class and working families across America. I urge my colleagues to vote for the Grimm Amendment.

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