LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) -- A federal appeals court, in a ruling Friday, upheld a Michigan law that allows contractors, regardless of union or non-union affiliation, to have equal access to bid for public project contracts.

The law -- also known as Public Act 98, or the Michigan Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act -- was designed to increase competition and lower taxpayer costs.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled 2-1 that the law is not preempted by the federal National Labor Relations Act, or NLRA.

"The act furthers Michigan's proprietary goal of improving efficiency in public construction projects, and the act is no broader than is necessary to meet those goals," Circuit Judge John M. Rogers wrote in the 13-page opinion.

Attorney General Bill Schuette applauded the court's ruling.

"The public contract bidding process should be open and fair for all of Michigan's builders and contractors," he said in a statement Friday.

"Encouraging robust competition and free enterprise will improve efficiency and save hard-earned taxpayer dollars."

The law allows all qualified contractors to bid for public construction projects and not be prohibited from doing so under special bidding provisions requiring or prohibiting pre-hiring or project labor agreements, or PLAs.

Such projects include state, local government, school district, community college and public university construction projects using state, federal or private funds.

Eighteen other states have similar laws or executive orders in place.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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