Project Labor Agreement EO Will Increase Infrastructure Expenses

Costly Midnight Executive Order May Exclude Utility Construction Firms From Projects

The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) is expressing strong objections to an executive order (EO) released Feb. 3 by the Biden Administration requiring the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on most federal construction projects.

“NUCA represents both union and merit-shop contractors,” said Doug Carlson, NUCA CEO. “Our members build and maintain all underground utility systems. We’re doing everything possible to combat the enduring workforce challenges facing our industry, but the Biden EO released last night does nothing but make matters much worse.”

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While the EO’s expressed intent is to help with management challenges that can interfere with federal construction projects, NUCA considers mandating PLAs will only exacerbate existing workforce capacity challenges by our industry. The EO will affect the recently passed $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the pending projects funded by this law.

PLA requirements restrict the majority of construction firms who traditionally bid on contracts that include federal financing assistance. State and local governments who might be interested in contracting with qualified merit-shop contractors who provide quality services could find these companies and their employees excluded because of this policy.

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This ill-advised EO by the Administration will only exacerbate the industry’s existing workforce shortages and disregard experienced local contractors from the infrastructure projects the President signed into law just three months ago. NUCA urges the Administration to rescind this executive order as quickly as possible.

About The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)

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Founded in 1964, the National Utility Contractors Association represents over 1,800 U.S. utility and excavation contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers who provide the materials and workforce to build and maintain our nation’s intricate network of water, sewer, gas, telecommunications, and electric infrastructure. NUCA is found online at, and can be followed on Twitter at @NUCA_National. The association’s Twitter hashtags are #WeDigAmerica and #NUCAdigs.