Labor Standards Ruling

By Oregon Business and Industry

Earlier this year, a temporary restraining order enjoined the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) recently adopted policy requiring contractors to enter into costly and restrictive project labor agreements for highway construction projects. The ruling became a preliminary injunction on Feb. 29, which will prevent the rule’s implementation until litigation concludes. Though the ruling was made on procedural grounds, the judge also weighed the fact that the policy would unfairly exclude open-shop contractors. Over the past several sessions, OBI and others have argued that imposing such labor standards on public contracts would prohibit many of Oregon’s local contractors from bidding on them. That argument did not prevent legislators in 2023 from broadening apprenticeship requirements on public works projects with HB 2649. Nor did it dissuade them in 2024 from applying strict labor standards to offshore wind projects through HB 4080. However, the resolution of this litigation could strengthen that argument in future sessions.

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