WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 28, 2003) — The U.S. Supreme Court struck down efforts by union lawyers to overturn the Bush Administration’s Executive Order 13202, which bans government-mandated discriminatory union-only contracts, also known as project labor agreements (PLAs), on federally funded construction projects.
The court denied certiorari to an attempt by union officials to appeal a U.S. Court of Appeals decision in AFL-CIO et al., v. Allbaugh et al., which upheld the president’s right to issue the Executive Order banning government-imposed union-only contracts. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed an amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) brief with Associated Builders and Contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce arguing that the executive order was not preempted by the congressionally enacted National Labor Relations Act and that President Bush acted within his constitutional authority.
“The Supreme Court’s decision is a step toward protecting workers and taxpayers from higher costs and other abuses that flow from compulsory unionism,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason.
A PLA is a scheme which requires that all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, subject themselves and their employees to unionization to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.
A coalition of union officials filed Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, et al. v. Allbaugh, et al. after President Bush issued the order in February 2001 to establish a policy of non-discrimination on federal contracting. More than 80 percent of American contractors and their employees have refrained from unionization.
“PLAs are nothing more than a shakedown — union officials use them to demand taxpayer handouts and government-granted special privileges in exchange for not ordering strikes or causing other disruptions,” said Gleason.