Last Friday, President Joe Biden signed yet another executive order that will soon become a monkey wrench in the gears of economic growth here in Alabama and across competitive sectors of the economy.
His new order, which RINOs could have precluded, had they employed a modicum of foresight when they helped pass Biden's "bipartisan" infrastructure bill last fall, requires federal construction contracts over $35 million to use Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).
Biden's new requirement for PLAs effectively forces contractors using non-union labor to adopt union practices, wage rates, work rules, and approval on $1.5 trillion in Federally funded construction projects under the "bi-partisan" infrastructure bill.
To gauge the degree to which leftists have again sandbagged weak Republicans, one need only refer to two bits of information:
First, Biden's executive order forces builders in right-to-work states, such as Alabama, to adopt union practices. In Alabama, 95.1% of construction workers are non-union, while nationally, 87.4% are non-union.
Second, when the 19 RINOs in the Senate sided with Democrats to ram through Biden's infrastructure bill, they failed to include a provision in that bill to preclude the imposition of PLA requirements by a regulatory practice or an executive order. As a result, they opened the door to PLAs, the anti-competitive impacts of PLAs, and the disadvantage at which PLAs place our Alabama contractors, builders, and construction workers.
While we have seen our county commissions and city councils permit PLA-type agreements within incentive packages offered to large firms located in our area, the scale of punishment and reward that Biden's PLA order will bring via the $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill is unprecedented. Together, Biden's PLA order and the infrastructure bill will represent a windfall for Democrats' union paymasters and substantial harm to Alabama contractors and workers.
PLAs effectively disqualify certain contractors from bidding on jobs in their respective locales. We've all seen big manufacturing plants come into town, and after groundbreaking, there is an influx of construction equipment bearing the logo of an out-of-state contractor. It isn't that local contractors, subs, and Alabama employees weren't equipped to handle the job. Instead, the local county commission or city council sold them out by including a PLA structure in the incentive package bringing new business to town.
For years to come, PLA mandates revived from the Obama era by Biden's order will shut the door on local contractors who are ready and willing to bid on Federal contracts. In Alabama, and specifically here in Northern Alabama, there are hundreds of millions of dollars of Federal construction opportunities on the horizon. Our local businesses should be first in line to bid on these projects, not excluded by anti-competitive union rules enabled by PLA requirements.
Those living in Red States and right-to-work states will bear the burden of adapting their company and employment practices to Biden's PLA order. As such, his order is just another example of Federal overreach in which federal rules circumvent or subvert state authority to create competitive labor practices.
Alabama is a right-to-work state. Our workforce rules afford great flexibility and agility that Alabamians value. Recently, we saw union organizers soundly defeated in Bessemer, where 1,798 of 2,536 Amazon employees voted against unionization efforts. For that matter, Alabama and Americans don't need Biden's PLA mandate or any of his other job-destroying and inflation-causing policies. They need the Federal government's boot off their back, and the hands of union hacks out of their pockets.
Biden said he would be a "union President."
Unfortunately for our construction workers, building contractors, and Federal taxpayers, this is one promise Biden did keep.
Hon. Casey Wardynski is a candidate for the US House of Representatives in Alabama’s fifth congressional district. He most recently served as President Trump’s appointed Assistant Secretary of the Army. To learn more about him visit friendsofcasey.com
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