On February 4, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, which mandates, with limited exceptions, that contractors and subcontractors working on federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more agree that for that project, the companies will “become a party to a project labor agreement [PLA] with one or more appropriate labor organizations.”  A prior EO issued by President Obama, which the recent EO drew liberally from, encouraged the use of labor agreements on large construction projects, but we are not aware of any prior EO mandating their use.

The supposed authorization for the authority for this EO that will impact nearly 200,000 workers and an estimated $262 billion in federal construction projects, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, 40 U.S.C. 101 et seq. (FPASA), is the same statute that the White House claimed gave the president the authority to mandate that government contract employees be vaccinated.  Numerous federal courts have already ruled that, at least in the vaccine context, FPASA does not mean what the president thinks it means, and construction companies may challenge the new EO on that basis.  Our post from late January provides an overview of those decisions and the status of the vaccine mandates.

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