Today’s Gift to Big Labor

Even as the nomination of Hilda Solis for Labor Secretary remains stalled due to tax and potential ethics rules troubles, organized labor got a large gift from President Obama today, as he signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to have contractors working on construction projects of $25 million or more to sign project labor agreements (PLAs) with labor unions — and it may come at the expense of taxpayers.

Under the order, federal construction project PLAs would, among other things, “bind all contractors and subcontractors on the construction project through the inclusion of appropriate specifications in all relevant solicitation provisions and contract documents;” “contain guarantees against strikes, lockouts, and similar job disruptions;” and  “set forth effective, prompt, and mutually binding procedures for resolving labor disputes arising during the project labor agreement.”

While the order states that federal agencies adopting PLAs should “allow all contractors and subcontractors to compete for contracts and subcontracts without regard to whether they are otherwise parties to collective bargaining agreements,” the above conditions would shut out non-union contractors from federal projects, which would hike the price of federal infrastcture projects — including any that would be part of any federal “stimulus” package. This is one gift the rest of us cannot afford.

For more on how to really stimulate the economy, see here.