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Exclusive-Biden to sign executive order boosting rights of 200,000 construction workers -Breaking


© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden talks about a U.S. Special Forces Operation in Northern Syria against ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi. This was recorded in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Washington, U.S.A, 02/03/2022. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters] – Friday will see President Joe Biden sign an executive order requiring that federal construction projects exceed $35 million have “project labor arrangements”. This will provide a possible boost to unions and construction workers, as well as a shift administration believes will accelerate building times.

A draft of the executive orders seen by Reuters shows that it will affect nearly 200,000 federal workers and $262 billion in Federal construction contracting.

Collective bargaining agreements that are reached between contractors and building trade unions regarding project labor include wage and employment terms, as well as dispute resolution. In the past, Democratic presidents supported the application of such agreements to the huge U.S. Federal Contracting Budget. Republican presidents have repealed them.

This order will take effect immediately following the signing of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill by Biden, which invests in roads, bridges, and ports.

Federal agencies will channel large amounts of this money to the states and localities. A senior administration official stated that the new executive order does not apply to projects funded through grants to nonfederal agencies. This will account for the bulk of projects covered by the bill. However, it will still apply to the billions of dollars spent by federal agencies on waterways, military bases, and other areas.

According to the White House, Biden will be visiting Ironworkers Local 5 (Upper Marlboro), Maryland) Friday in order to sign this executive orders. Information about the content of the order has not yet been reported.

Due to the slowdown in goods and labor, and terminations of whole projects, the U.S. Construction Industry – which includes workers, owners and developers, as well as contractors, has been the most affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Biden pledged to support unions, increase membership, strengthen the United States, after many years of steadily declining, as well as to raise hourly wages for workers in construction and health care.

The order states that contractors who pay lower wages or employ less qualified employees will have to improve their standards in order to be competitive with high-wage and high-quality businesses. Biden’s executive order earlier required federal contractors with new or extended contracts pay $15 an hour minimum wage.

Some contractors also supported Biden’s action.

Daniel Hogan is chief executive of The Association of Union Constructors. He represents 1800 contract companies and said, “This simplifies the negotiation process, gives employers access to a highly skillful pool of craftworkers,” to Reuters.

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