Schuette, Moolenaar Announce Appeal to Defend Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction

Contact: John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060
Agency: Attorney General

March 6,  2012

LANSING  -  Attorney General Bill Schuette and Senator John Moolenaar (R-Midland) today announced the State of Michigan will appeal a ruling by a federal court that overturned the Michigan Fair and Open Competition and in Governmental Construction Act.  The law increases competition and lowers costs to taxpayers by allowing all contractors, regardless of union or non-union affiliation, to have equal access to competitively bid for public construction project contracts. 

"The public contract bidding process should be open and fair," said Schuette.  "Encouraging robust competition and free enterprise will save taxpayer dollars."

"I sponsored Public Act 98 to help ensure a level playing field in the competition for taxpayer-funded construction projects," said Moolenaar, sponsor of the law. "Equal opportunity is a foundation of our economic system, and I thank Attorney General Schuette for standing up for Michigan taxpayers and workers by defending this common-sense law."

Today Schuette filed a notice of appeal on behalf of Governor Rick Snyder to appeal the February 29, 2012 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts striking down the law.  Schuette will defend the law before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and argue that it is not pre-empted by federal labor laws.  Schuette will also file a motion seeking a stay of the order striking down the law while the appeal moves forward. 

The Michigan Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act protects taxpayers by allowing all qualified contractors to bid on public contracts and not be otherwise prohibited from doing so under special bidding provisions requiring or prohibiting pre-hiring or project labor agreements (PLAs).  Public contracts would include state, local government, school, college and university construction projects using state tax dollars. 

Ten other states have similar public contracting laws or executive orders in place.  Most recently, in September 2011, Iowa's executive order banning project labor agreements in state-funded construction projects was upheld in federal court on the grounds that it did not violate the National Labor Relations Act.