Associated Builders and Contractors prevails in project labor agreement dispute

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has been successful in having a mandatory project labor agreement removed from the bidding process for the construction of an Armed Forces Reserve center in Camden, N. J.

In response to a bid protest filed with the Government Accountability Office by ABC member Wu & Associates, Inc. of Cherry Hill, N. J., with ABC support and representation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers eliminated a solicitation requirement that would have limited the pool of qualified bidders to contractors willing to sign onto a federal construction project covered by a controversial government-mandated project labor agreement.

“Our company and other quality New Jersey businesses deserve a fair opportunity to provide the public with the best construction product at the best price,” said Wu and Associates President Kirby Wu, AIA, in a written press statement from ABC. “The wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreement would have cut competition from qualified merit shop contractors and their skilled employees. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision is a real win for all taxpayers, as well as for the people of New Jersey.”

“We hope that other federal agencies will heed this example and recognize that discriminatory project labor agreements only result in increased costs, delayed construction and harm to taxpayers,” said ABC President and CEO Kirk Pickerel in the same written press statement. “ABC will continue to fight any attempt to impose project labor agreements on federal construction projects in violation of competitive bidding laws.”

A project labor agreement is a special interest scheme that discourages competition from nonunion contractors and their nonunion employees by requiring a construction project to be awarded only to contractors and subcontractors that agree to recognize unions as the representatives of their employees on that job; use the union hall to obtain workers; obey the union’s restrictive apprenticeship and work rules; and contribute to union pension plans and other funds in which their nonunion employees will never benefit unless they join a union.