Labor Helps Defeat Anti-PLA Amendment

Labor Helps Defeat Anti-PLA Amendment

The IBEW mobilized quickly to help block an anti-project labor agreement amendment proposed by GOP Representative Matt Gaetz during a congressional committee meeting on the National Defense Authorization Act.  

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the nation’s $850 billion defense budget and sets Defense Department priorities every year. 

The proposed amendment would have exempted the Defense Department from President Biden’s executive order requiring PLAs on federal projects exceeding $35 million. This would have hindered IBEW contractors bidding on the $18 billion worth of military construction across the United States and U.S. territories in 2025.

“This amendment was an assault on Biden administration policy,” said Austin Keyser, assistant to IBEW President.

In a letter to committee members, IBEW President Cooper urged a “NO” vote and stated the IBEW would score the vote on the IBEW scorecard. Cooper answered fears about the cost of union labor on construction projects by sharing an example of a successful PLA project at a naval base in the state of Washington. That project was completed $200 million under budget.

“Evidence repeatedly demonstrates the cost-efficiency, effectiveness, and assurance of safety of PLAs which are based on the guarantee of a well-trained, highly skilled workforce,” Cooper said. 

The IBEW’s Government Affairs staff advocated against the amendment. In the end, all 27 Democrats on the Armed Services Committee were joined by four Republicans who voted “No” to defeat the measure.

“Your vote reflects the importance of PLAs to workers and project developers alike, and will have a notable impact on the lives of IBEW members and their families,” said Keyser in an email thanking the representatives for their vote.

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