The Supreme Court has refused a request by the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Dept. to hear its appeal of a lower court ruling that affirms a White House order prohibiting project labor agreements on federally funded construction projects. The High Court's action is a setback for the building trades and a win for non-union contractors.

Without comment, the Justices on Jan. 27 denied review in the 2001 case, Building & Construction Trades Dept. AFL-CIO v. Joe M. Allbaugh.

Eddie Rispone, chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors, said, "President Bush's common-sense executive order helps to ensure open competition in the U.S. construction industry. The Supreme Court's decision is a major victory for U.S. taxpayers and for the construction industry." Rispone also is chairman of Industrial Specialty Contractors, Baton Rouge, La.

Shortly after Bush took office in January 2001, he issued an order prohibiting mandatory PLAs on federal projects. Later that year, the BCTD and others successfully sued in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to block enforcement of the directive.

In November 2001, the Justice Dept. appealed the district court decision and last July, scored a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the lower court ruling and affirmed the executive order. In October, BCTD appealed to the High Court.

The BCTD did not return calls for comment.