Large Bi-partisan Majorities in Congress Agree:  Community Standards Matter in the U.S. Construction Industry

February 22, 2011

Dear State and Local Building Trades Leaders:

In early morning hours of February 19, as the U.S. House of Representatives engaged in a marathon session to enact FY 2011 appropriations legislation that would keep the federal government operating this year, America’s Building Trades Unions secured two tremendous victories.  Two separate amendments, one designed to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the other designed to deny funds for any federal PLA projects, were defeated with significant bipartisan support.

The Davis-Bacon repeal amendment, offered by Congressman Steve King (R-IA), was defeated in resounding fashion by a vote of 189-233.  48 Republican members joined with 185 Democrats in opposing the King Amendment.  This, on the heels of a strong bi-partisan vote in support of the Davis Bacon Act in the United States Senate just two weeks ago.

The anti-PLA amendment was sponsored by Representative Frank Guinta (R-NH), and it was defeated on a tie vote of 210-210; with 26 Republicans joining 184 Democrats to send this amendment to its rightful defeat.  It is clear that the U.S. House of Representatives supports the option of Federal agencies entering into project labor agreements as a way to promote workforce development, safety and efficiencies on construction projects.

What is significant about these two votes is that even as the 112th Congress is defined at the most fiscally conservative and budget-cutting Congress in decades, large bipartisan majorities recognize that the fundamental, underlying principles that define both prevailing wage laws and project labor agreements are, indeed, mainstream American values.  Further, these votes represent a stinging rebuke to the “race to the bottom” business model championed by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

It is our hope that opponents of common sense public policy will once and for all see these vote totals as indisputable evidence that politicians must finally decide to put politically motivated attacks aside and choose to respond to voters’ demands by focusing their efforts entirely on creating jobs and turning this economy around.  Politics do not pay a mortgage or put food on anyone’s table.  We hope that this significant demonstration of support for mainstream values will help propel the 112th Congress into seeking similar solutions that will place our nation on secure economic footing.

Once again have demonstrated, and will continue to demonstrate, that America’s Building Trades Unions will work with and support anyone who promotes common sense solutions and defends high road community standards in the construction industry, regardless of political party affiliation. We now possess clear evidence that we have broad support and that advocating fiscally conservative policies aimed at our nation’s budget deficits does not have to be at the expense of standards that only strengthen the U.S. construction industry.  We look forward to working with the 112th Congress to put politics aside and create jobs.


With kind, personal regards,

I am sincerely and fraternally,

Mark H. Ayers