New Biden order mandates union contracts on federal construction projects over $35M

President says measure will help ensure "well-trained, well-prepared, highly-skilled workers."

Updated: February 5, 2022 - 5:11pm

President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order he claimed would strengthen the federal contracting workforce while helping to deliver high-quality workers to undertake federal projects.

The "Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements For Federal Construction Projects" orders federal agencies to "require every contractor or subcontractor engaged in construction on [a federal] project to agree, for that project, to negotiate or become a party to a project labor agreement with one or more appropriate labor organizations."

The measure will provide, in part, “mechanisms for labor-management cooperation on matters of mutual interest and concern, including productivity, quality of work, safety, and health,” the order claims.

In remarks after the signing, Biden claimed the order would assist in "making sure that federal construction projects get completed on time and under budget."

The rules of the order will "ensure that major projects are handled by well-trained, well-prepared, highly-skilled workers," he added, arguing that they "resolve disputes ahead of time, ensuring safer work sites, avoiding disruptions and work stoppages that can cause expensive delays down the line."