WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 18 Republican governors, led by Governors Asa Hutchinson (AR) and Bill Lee (TN), issued a joint letter to President Joe Biden opposing his executive order requiring the use of government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on federally funded projects. These PLAs discourage competition from nonunion contractors that comprise the majority of the private U.S. construction industry workforce.
Ultimately, this order will exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage, delay projects, and increase construction costs. Republican governors continue to fight the Biden administration’s burdensome, cost-increasing regulations and advocate for their states’ roles in infrastructure initiatives.
Signatories to the letter include: Governors Asa Hutchinson (AR), Bill Lee (TN), Kay Ivey (AL), Ron DeSantis (FL), Brian Kemp (GA), Kim Reynolds (IA), Tate Reeves (MS), Mike Parson (MO), Pete Ricketts (NE), Chris Sununu (NH), Doug Burgum (ND), Kevin Stitt (OK), Henry McMaster (SC), Kristi Noem (SD), Greg Abbott (TX), Spencer Cox (UT), Glenn Youngkin (VA), and Mark Gordon (WY).
Portions of the letter included below:
“As governors, we support policies that ensure robust competition for taxpayer-funded construction projects that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure on an even playing field. We aim to provide value to taxpayers as we partner with the federal government to deliver roads, bridges, communications, water, energy, and transportation systems safely, on time, and on budget, but we cannot deliver the best results with onerous and unnecessary constraints.
“We oppose Executive Order 14063 requiring controversial government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal and federally assisted construction contracts funded by taxpayers exceeding $35 million. In addition, we oppose other federal policies promoting PLAs on federally assisted projects via federal agency guidance and grant programs that state and local governments can utilize to help fund critical infrastructure projects.
“We call on you to be equitable in your treatment of America’s construction workers whether union or nonunion. In short, the aforementioned policies will undermine taxpayer investment in billions of dollars of forthcoming public works projects financed by the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021 andadditional bipartisan legislation passed by Congress, all of which was signed into law free from language requiring or encouraging the use of PLAs.
“Three months ago, sixteen governors wrote to you seeking a flexible partnership in implementing public works projects. The federal government cannot do this job itself and requires the states to lead on the execution of infrastructure initiatives. As a partner in this endeavor, we ask again: please pull back from introducing partisan policies into infrastructure. Taxpayers cannot afford such wasteful and exclusionary policies.
“We ask that the Office of Management and Budget––along with respective federal agencies charged with implementation, grant programs, draft regulations, and guidance related to legislation funding infrastructure projects––afford states and localities maximum regulatory flexibility free from anti-competitive and costly pro-PLA policies. Doing so will deliver more value to taxpayers and create opportunities for all—including small, minority-owned, and women-owned—businesses and workers in the construction industry to compete to build America.”