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Biden’s Labor Order Aims to Raise Wages on Infrastructure Jobs

Feb. 4, 2022, 7:40 PM

President Joe Biden required large federal infrastructure projects to use project labor agreements, a collective bargaining measure the administration says will tilt the rules toward companies with higher-paid workers.

Biden, who has long touted his support for unions, signed an executive order on Friday at a union hall in Upper Marlboro, Md., implementing the rule for all federally procured construction projects above $35 million in value.

Biden said taxpayers would benefit from the labor agreements. “They ensure that major projects are handled by well-trained, well-prepared, highly skilled workers,” Biden said.

He added: “We’re going to make sure that federal construction projects are staffed with good-paying union jobs.”

The measure applies to projects in the November infrastructure law that are direct federal procurement, and not to those led by other entities who’ve been awarded federal grants.

Project labor agreements guarantee a contractor will enter into a collective bargaining pact for the duration of a specific project. They’re seen as a way to bolster wages on federal construction projects, guarantee work for unions, and prevent labor unrest.

--With assistance from Ian Kullgren and Justin Sink.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Josh Wingrove in Washington at jwingrove4@bloomberg.net;
Nancy Cook in Washington at ncook40@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net

Justin Blum, Bill Faries

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.