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THE NATION

Bush Ban on Labor Accord Blocked

November 08, 2001|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday blocked enforcement of President Bush's executive order barring project labor agreements on federally funded contracts.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said the president lacked the requisite authority when he issued the order in February banning the labor agreements.

Project labor agreements are pre-hire agreements between an employer and unions that set wages, benefits and hiring conditions. In exchange, unions agree to provide a continuous work force and promise not to strike.

Bush later amended his order to allow existing agreements to continue. Republicans also inserted a provision in a bill to allow such agreements if Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is opened for drilling, garnering union support for the legislation.

But the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO sued the Bush administration, charging that the executive order violated the rights of employers and unions protected by the National Labor Relations Act. The judge agreed the executive order is preempted by the act.

"It's widely known that project labor agreements bring order to construction sites," Edward Sullivan, president of the Building and Construction Trades Departments, said in a statement. "PLAs are a proven and just method to manage construction labor relations."

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