U.S. Supreme Court denies challenge to PLA order

Two years after it was first signed in February 2001, President Bush’s executive order banning the use of project labor agreements (PLA) on federally funded construction projects was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court when it declined to review a Building and Construction Trades Department challenge to the order. The decision is the latest in the two-year battle that most recently found its way to the

Two years after it was first signed in February 2001, President Bush’s executive order banning the use of project labor agreements (PLA) on federally funded construction projects was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court when it declined to review a Building and Construction Trades Department challenge to the order. The decision is the latest in the two-year battle that most recently found its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court where the order was also upheld. Not surprisingly, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) were split on the decision. The IEC had argued that PLAs exclude open shop contractors from bidding on projects paid for by their tax dollars and drive up the cost of federal construction by reducing competition for the work. “This is excellent news for IEC members and for taxpayers everywhere,” says Darryl Vasko, president of Vasko Electric, an open shop contractor in Sacramento, Calif. IBEW, on the other hand, was discouraged by the decision. “This decision is a disappointment for the labor movement because it effectively disallows one of the best tools we have for completing projects,” says Edwin D. Hill, IBEW International presdent. PLAs are collective bargaining agreements permitted under the NLRA that establish common work rules for an entire construction site.

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