Rep. Frank Guinta Offers Amendment Promoting Fair and Open Competition for the Procurement of Federal Construction Contracts

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, yesterday U.S. Representative Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) filed an amendment pertaining to government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on the Continuing Resolution legislation currently being debated on the House floor that would fund the federal government from March 4 through Sept. 30, the end of the current federal fiscal year (“Guinta: Ban pro-union labor agreements from federal construction projects,” 2/15/11).

Rep. Guinta’s amendment No. 166 says:

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to enter into, after the date of the enactment of this Act, a Government contract that requires a project labor agreement.”

Rep. Guinta commented on the amendment in a press release yesterday:

“PLAs are nothing but political payback to unions that come at the taxpayer’s expense,” Guinta said. “They drive up the cost of already expensive government construction projects. They divert scarce revenue; instead of using limited taxpayer dollars to restore our crumbling infrastructure, PLAs put money in the pockets of unions. The amendment I submitted would level the playing field and restore competition among contractors. When all contractors get a fair shake, the taxpayer gets a good deal. And that’s good for everyone.” readers may recall that Rep. Guinta was the mayor of Manchester in Nov. 2009, when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) cancelled its solicitation for bids to construct a new Job Corps Center in Manchester, N.H., after a controversy erupted over the DOL’s PLA requirement that would have discouraged competition from qualified local contractors and their merit shop employees.

In October 2009, ABC member North Branch Construction of Concord, N.H., with ABC support and representation, filed a protest against the illegal, costly and anti-competitive PLA with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In the face of the bid protest, the U.S. DOL cancelled its solicitation to construct the project, rather than build the project without the anti-competitive and costly PLA, which would have resulted in out-of-state contractors and primarily union employees building the Job Corps Center.

The DOL was widely criticized for delaying the project and the creation of badly needed construction jobs while denying local residents services offered by the Job Corps Center. U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was questioned during a Feb. 3, 2010, House Education and Labor Committee hearing by Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) about the DOL’s PLA mandate. She was asked to explain why the Manchester Job Corps Center has not been built, but to date, has failed to provide an answer.

The project is supposed to be under construction soon, although the timeline is uncertain. The DOL has hired Hill International Inc., a New Jersey-based construction management claims firm notorious for supporting anti-competitive and costly government-mandated PLAs, to review the Job Corps Center project and recommend whether it should continue to be subject to a PLA.

It is unclear if this amendment would impact the construction of the Job Corps Center if the DOL proceeds with construction and mandates a PLA.

However, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported:

Guinta said the Job Corps Center did not, in itself, prompt his amendment, but he said it is “the current local example of a project that was put on hold as a result of a PLA requirement.” supports this amendment. It ensures a level playing field free from costly and anti-competitive PLA mandates where all qualified contractors and their skilled employees have a fair opportunity to compete for construction contracts and deliver to taxpayers the best possible product at the best possible price.

This entry was posted in Project Labor Agreements

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