The Fair and Open Competition Act Supports Workers and Taxpayers

Posted by Olivia Grady on Thursday, April 4th, 2019 at 2:37 pm - Permalink

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) strongly support the Fair and Open Competition Act.

This bill (H.R. 1858) was introduced by Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) and Representative Francis Rooney (R-FL) on March 25, 2019. Representatives Mark Meadows (R-NC), Mark Walker (R-NC), George Holding (R-NC), Steve King (R-IA), Ron Wright (R-TX), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are co-sponsoring the bill. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) introduced the Senate companion bill (S. 907) on March 27, 2019.

The legislation would forbid federal government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs).

Project labor agreements require contractors on public projects to include a union collective bargaining agreement in their bid specifications on the project. These collective bargaining agreements also usually require workers to pay dues to the union and accept union representation. In addition, they require contractors to use exclusive union hiring halls and pay above-market wages.

As a result, contractors that are not unionized usually don’t bid on these projects. Further, PLAs generally lead to higher construction costs, typically between 12 and 18 percent higher. These higher construction costs translate into fewer jobs for workers and fewer projects for the public.

ATR and CWF, therefore, urge Members of Congress to support the federal Fair and Open Competition Act in order to protect workers and taxpayers.

Interestingly, twenty-five states have already outlawed PLAs on state and local projects.

In fact, Kentucky just became the 25th state to forbid state and local governments from requiring project labor agreements on public construction projects!

On March 21, 2019, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed into law the Fair and Open Competition Act (HB 135), which forbids government-mandated PLAs. Rep. Phillip Pratt (R-62) introduced the legislation on January 9, 2019. The bill passed 50-44 in the House and 26-10 in the Senate.

Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Worker Freedom applaud Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Rep. Phillip Pratt and representatives who supported the Fair and Open Competition Act on standing up for Kentucky workers and taxpayers.

Members of Congress should follow Kentucky’s example and stand up for American workers and taxpayers by voting for the federal Fair and Open Competition Act.