As Congress negotiates billions of dollars in potential federal funds for construction through the economic stimulus bill, President Barack Obama moved to bring back union-only project labor agreements as an option on federally funded projects. The president on Feb. 6 issued an executive order overturning a Bush administration ban on federal PLAs and opened the door to such pacts on projects of $25 million or more. The order fulfills a promise made during the presidential campaign to unions to advocate for their interests. Getting the PLA ban reversed was cited by union officials as a high priority on its wish
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.