Comments on a proposed rule that would encourage use of project labor agreements on large federal construction projects included passionate pleas from unions in favor of the proposal and from open-shop interests against it. The proposal would implement a Feb. 6 executive order.

The laborers’ union says PLAs help deliver projects on time and on budget and guarantee uninterrupted access to skilled labor. Strong opposition came from 906 comments filed by Associated Builders and Contractors and its member companies. ABC has released a study claiming no labor disruptions or major delays occurred on non-PLA federal projects begun in the Bush administration. The Associated General Contractors says there is no evidence that PLA mandates consistently cut project costs or boosted quality.