Sixteen Republican governors wrote a letter to President Biden on April 26, 2022, opposing his executive order to mandate project labor agreements (PLAs) on taxpayer-funded construction contracts exceeding $35 million. The letter was signed by governors from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
Executive Order 14063 was signed by President Biden on February 4, 2022, and aimed to provide structure to large-scale construction projects by requiring the use of PLAs. Republican governors wrote that the executive order grants a monopoly to unions on federal projects and discourages competition.
The letter said in opposition to PLAs, “When mandated by government agencies, PLAs can interfere with existing union collective bargaining agreements and needlessly discourage competition from quality nonunion contractors and their employees who comprise 87.4% of the private U.S. construction industry workforce according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
The executive order stated, “[Project labor agreements] avoid labor-related disruptions on projects by using dispute-resolution processes to resolve worksite disputes and by prohibiting work stoppages, including strikes and lockouts. They secure the commitment of all stakeholders on a construction site that the project will proceed efficiently without unnecessary interruptions. They also advance the interests of project owners, contractors, and subcontractors, including small businesses.”
The letter from Republican governors followed two additional letters sent to President Biden by 42 Senate Republicans and 59 House members in March 2022 to oppose the executive order and PLA mandates. The Biden administration has not responded to the letter as of May 25, 2022.