President Biden has issued an executive order designed to “help alleviate the management and coordination challenges that can stymie progress” on major federal construction projects, including new training for some 40,000 federal employees involved with managing contracts
The order calls for using project labor agreements for direct federal procurements under the recently enacted infrastructure law costing above $35 million. Those agreements standardize work rules, compensation costs, and dispute settlement processes on construction projects, which “helps create more certainty for the government and, therefore, taxpayers, about the costs and completion rate for projects,” a White House fact sheet says.
“PLAs help raise the standards of all bidders on federal contracts. Contractors who offer lower wages or do not train their workers will need to raise their standards to compete with other high-wage, high-quality companies. Businesses with well-trained workers will be more likely to bid for and win federal contracts. Well-trained, high quality workers are more productive, completing projects well and on time,” it says.
“PLAs can help coordinate diverse contractors and sub-contractors and their employees working on a project and prevent disputes between subcontractors. Additionally, workers will have more confidence in the management of the project and a greater commitment to completing the project if they have a voice at the table,” it adds.
The order directs DoD, Labor and OMB to develop training for the federal contracting workforce on those requirements. “This training will create a more uniform and accessible experience for contractors interacting with departments and agencies across the federal government,” it says.