Yesterday, Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1) introduced "The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act" (H.R. 436) which would level the playing field for construction workers applying for federal contracts and those funded by federal dollars. The legislation currently has 55 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. Rep. Harris is partnering with Senator David Vitter from Louisiana who introduced similar legislation in the U.S. Senate last week, S. 109.
In 2009, President Obama introduced Executive Order 13502 that strengthened project labor agreements (PLAs) which favored union-based construction workers over non-union construction workers. The result has been de-facto discrimination against non-union construction workers, costlier projects, and longer completion time.
Statement from Rep. Harris:
"The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act is pro-growth, pro-taxpayer, and pro-worker choice legislation that will lower government costs by increasing the competitiveness of federal contracts, while also ensuring all construction workers have equal opportunity to find work. For too long, President Obama has preferred mandating union-based workers for federal contracts. This has increased the cost of government contracts while it discriminated against qualified workers who chose not to belong to a union. I look forward to working with my colleagues from both parties in both chambers to build support for this common-sense legislation."
Statement from Senator Vitter:
"One way to ensure that taxpayers get the most value for their dollar is to prohibit federal agencies from mandating contractors to agree to union-favoring project labor agreements in order to win a federal construction contract. President Obama has done his darndest to repay his Big Labor political debt, but we have a legislative fix - ensure bidding of the best possible construction product at the best possible price."