Biden Executive Order on PLAs will benefit HFIAW members

The Executive Order signed by President Joe Biden in early February requiring the use of Project Labor Agreements on federal construction projects above $35 million will benefit the Insulators Union and create more work opportunities for our members. 

Project Labor Agreements, or PLAs, are collectively bargained contracts between a project owner and/or general contractor and labor organizations to establish the terms and conditions for employment on a specific job.

Biden Executive Order on PLAs will benefit HFIAW members

The terms and conditions include wage rates and often language related to registered apprenticeship training – factors that level the playing field for union signatory contractors.

Throughout the country, HFIAW members have worked on numerous projects under PLAs – in both the private and public sector.

Now, the order signed by Biden should help our signatory contractors garner additional federal government work.

Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust Executive Director Pete R. Ielmini believes the Executive Order will help preserve HFIAW craft jurisdiction and assignments of the mechanical insulation craft.

“All of the mechanical insulation work will be assigned to its rightful owner, utilizing our collective bargained wages and benefit package that utilizes professionally trained workers from our U.S. Department of Labor registered apprenticeship programs,” he said. 

At the signing ceremony – held at Ironworkers Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Md., – the President explained how the Executive Order will help build a better America.

“[It] will ensure federal construction projects get completed on time and under budget, saving taxpayers money, clearing construction zones quickly and ensuring everything the federal government signs a contract to build, is built to last,” he said.

IAHFIAW General President Gregory T. Revard applauded the Executive Order, which will benefit the HFIAW and its members.

“The President’s Executive Order will help create jobs for our members,” Revard said. “Not only will it help our union and our members, but it will also help the American taxpayer.” 

Ielmini believes it will lead to more work due to the expansion of the definition of infrastructure.

“In one word, it was enormous,” said Ielmini. “Granted, the term of infrastructure is not directly thought of when referring to the mechanical insulation industry, but it will involve many work opportunities within the $1.5 trillion construction boom this country is going to experience.

“Do not think of infrastructure solely as roads and bridges. It is also associated with building power plants to build the electrical power grid systems, modifications to utility services, extreme climate preparation that includes weatherization, expansions of airports and rail systems, buildings and structures that support the EV industry, internet systems that include storage data buildings, lead pipe and paint remediation and many other related opportunities for mechanical insulation.”

According to the White House, the Order will help alleviate the management and coordination challenges that can stymie progress on major federal construction projects and provide the best value for taxpayers’ dollars. Based on FY2021 figures, the White House believes the PLA mandate will affect $262 billion in federal government construction contracting and improve job quality for the nearly 200,000 construction workers on federal contracts.

The Executive Order applies to all federally procured projects over $35 million. However, the order’s accompanying fact sheet stated it excludes large portions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Most IIJA work will be excluded because the projects are financed through grant dollars to non-federal entities.

The directive also ordered the Departments of Defense and Labor, along with the Office of Management Budget, to lead a training strategy for the nearly 40,000-person strong contracting workforce on the implementation of this policy.

By requiring the Departments of Defense and Labor, along with the Office of Management and Budget, to lead a training strategy, it will create a more uniform and accessible experience for contractors interacting with departments and agencies across the federal government. Not only is this good news for those working on the federal projects who qualify for the PLA mandate, it is also good news for families of those individuals that work on the projects.

“When folks are getting paid a decent wage, everyone in the community does better,” Biden said. “They’re jobs you can raise a family on. Jobs that can’t be outsourced. It’s good for everybody.”

For members of building trades unions, the PLA Executive Order is another example of President Biden delivering on his promise to be the most union friendly president in history.

“President Biden is delivering on his promise to support unions,” said Revard. “His actions prove he understands the important role organized labor plays in providing Americans with a pathway to living a middle-class life.”

“I thank him for taking a huge step forward in protecting and promoting good-paying union construction jobs – especially for members of our union,” Revard added.

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