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Not against unions, but this is ridiculous
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      This may come as a surprise to many of you, but I am not a big fan of the federal government. Note, I didn't specify any political party, I said the federal government. It is my humble opinion that the climate is such that decisions in Washington are being made in a vacuum or in someone's or some industry's best interest.
      So, when H. A. Sack Company president Paul Roesel emailed the following to me, my reaction was "here we go again", it's political pay back time.
      Let me give you the background. On February 6, 2009, President Obama issued E.O. 13502 which encourages executive agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements in connection with large scale construction projects in order to promote "economy and efficiency" in Federal procurement - specifically, federal construction projects valued at $25 million or more.
      The term ‘‘project labor agreement'' means a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project and is an agreement described in 29 U.S.C. 158(f). That is legal speak for union labor.
      I am not against unionized labor, but the reality is, not many construction companies in this area use unionized labor or have a large local unionized labor pool to choose from. It just isn't prevalent in the southeast, particularly in Georgia. According to Roesel, this is an "under the radar" action by the Obama administration that if enforced will force employers and employees who see no need for Unions to either sign Union agreements or to be precluded from working on military bases, school projects (with Federal funds) and other projects involving federal money.
      "Right now it is the money being spent on federal projects that is keeping businesses such as ours alive and is feeding the many families whose heads of households work for us," Roesel said. "We currently employ over 300 people with the majority of them now working on construction projects on military bases around the state."
      To justify the exclusion of contractors that choose not to or can't secure unionized labor for projects, the regulation gives this line of reasoning, "project labor agreements may help agencies manage workforce challenges that arise in connection with large-scale construction projects. For example, large-scale construction projects typically involve multiple employers at a single location. A lack of coordination among various employers, or uncertainties about the terms and conditions of employment of various groups of workers, can create friction and disputes in the absence of an agreed-upon resolution and mechanism. The use of project labor agreements may prevent these problems from developing by providing structure and stability to large-scale construction projects thereby promoting the efficient and expeditious completion of Federal construction contracts."
      Are you kidding me, that's why you have a contractor? I guess here-to-fore, large scale federal construction projects have been a site of workforce bedlam and mayhem. And further (here is the "kicker") "the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is working with the Secretary of Labor and other officials, to provide recommendations to the President on whether to broaden the application of project labor agreements on both construction projects awarded under Federal contracts and construction projects receiving Federal financial assistance, to promote the economical, efficient, and timely completion of such projects."
      There you have it. Any project receiving federal assistance would need to employ unionized labor. According to Roesel, this would involve work, for example, on military bases, schools, and hospitals which utilize federal funds.
Brad Williams of Dabbs-Williams General Contractors, LLC, said, "the proposed regulation is bad for construction especially here in Georgia where our labor is mostly open shop. I understand that even the Union people are against this because the proposal changes the rules."
       If you would like to express your opinion on this, you may go to www.regulations.gov - "your voice in federal decision making". Apparently there has been so much interest in this that they have extended the timeframe to make comments by another 30 days.