Obama reverses Bush-era order on labor agreements

The Obama administration has overturned a 2001 executive order requiring federal agencies to remain neutral in their approach to relationships between contractors on major construction projects and the workers they employ.

The administration's decision to overturn Executive Order 13202, was only the latest salvo in a battle that has shifted back and forth between Democratic and Republican administrations since 1992 over the use of union labor in federal construction projects.

In that year, President George H.W. Bush signed Executive Order 12818, which forbade agencies from requiring construction contractors to use project labor agreements, which governed the relationships with their workers for a contract's duration. President Clinton in 1993 issued Executive Order 12818 overturning Bush's order, and released a memo in 1997 recommending that agencies require contractors to use project labor agreements on construction contracts worth more than $5 million. In 2001, President George W. Bush reversed Clinton's order, and added a clause stipulating that agencies could not discourage the use of labor agreements either, but had to stay neutral toward such agreements altogether.

President Obama issued his own executive order in February, saying it was the government's policy to encourage the use of labor agreements to avoid misunderstandings about the cost of labor, and to ensure that one contractor's workforce problems during a project not delay other teams involved in the contract. The revocation of Bush's 2001 executive order now clears the way for enforcing Obama's order.

"The use of a project labor agreement may prevent these problems from developing by providing structure and stability to large-scale construction projects, thereby promoting the efficient and expeditious completion of federal construction contracts," Obama wrote in February when he issued the order.

Matt Biggs, legislative director of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, said his union, which represents both federal employees and contractors, viewed the reversal of the 2001 Bush order as a step forward.

"This administration's action in reversing Executive Order 13202 will further encourage project labor agreements, and is reflective of their commitment to working people," Biggs said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.