Updating Critical Workforce Regulations
Advocacy Letter - 03/28/14
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210
Re: Updating Critical Workforce Regulations
Dear Secretary Perez:
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Task Force on Tradeswomen’s Issues, the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, and the other undersigned organizations, we write to applaud the Department of Labor’s (DOL) commitment to reviewing and revising the regulations and goals for women and minorities in apprenticeships and on federal construction projects, guidelines which have not been updated in over 30 years. We intend to provide input during the notice of proposed rulemaking stage and expect that you will receive and consider public comment from various stakeholders to inform the final rule. We urge you to obtain essential expert input from other federal agencies, employers, unions, state apprenticeship plans, and community organizations. The participation and input of these stakeholders, many of whom are directly engaged in registered apprenticeships and working with construction contractors, is vital to ensuring equal access to job opportunities, particularly when improving access to employment is critical in today’s economy.
As a companion to the review of the regulations and goals for women and minorities in apprenticeships and on federal construction projects, we also urge you to couple this regulatory work with a review of the federal procurement process and ways in which it can be employed, for example, through project labor agreements, to expand job opportunities for careers in construction. Progress is unlikely if the federal government does not utilize its power to attach registered apprenticeships to job opportunities through project labor agreements. Regulation by itself of a dwindling pool of jobs will not be effective in reaching the goals of attaining greater minority and women’s participation on federal construction projects and in registered apprenticeships.
Construction Contractors’ Affirmative Action Requirements: In 2009, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced that it would issue updated regulations on the affirmative action requirements for construction contractors. The regulations that implement Executive Order 11246 prohibit discrimination against workers by federal construction contractors and have helped improve access to higher skilled and higher paying jobs in nontraditional careers. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is currently scheduled for April 2014 after several postponements. Moving forward with the updated regulations will provide an opportunity to discuss why current goals have not been met and what additional steps may be taken to improve women and minority representation in the industry. Further delay in the rulemaking process will be at the expense of workers and our economy.
Equal Employment Opportunity in Apprenticeship Amendment of Regulations: The Employment and Training Administration first announced in 2009 that it would revise the federal apprenticeship regulations, but the issuance of the revised rules continues to be delayed and the regulatory agenda currently states that the NPRM will be issued in September of 2014. In 1978, the Department mandated affirmative action to increase women and minority enrollment in apprenticeship programs—the main pathway to employment in the skilled construction trades. However, the current regulations limit the use of innovative approaches that may prove effective in putting low-income people, people of color, and women onto a career pathway. While the numbers of women and minority apprentices has increased since 1978, overall figures remain low and must be addressed. Ensuring that women and minorities are provided opportunity to fully participate in registered apprenticeships through increased demand for registered apprentices and continued equal employment opportunity efforts is essential to solving the problem.
The proper revision and enforcement of these two regulations, coupled with aggressive apprenticeship utilization requirements and strategic job creation funding strategies for the construction industry, can be powerful tools for ensuring that an equitable share of jobs on federally funded projects goes to women and minorities.
We are disappointed with the continued delay in beginning the notice and comment period and ask that DOL move forward with these two sets of regulations as currently scheduled. We look forward to having an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process on both of these important regulations. For additional information, please contact Lexer Quamie at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights or email@example.com, Françoise Jacobsohn at Legal Momentum firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sonia Ramirez with the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO at email@example.com.
Amalgamated Transit Union
American Association for Affirmative Action
American Association of University Women
American Civil Liberties Union
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO
Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women
Brevard National Organization for Women (NOW)
Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Center for Community Change
Center for Law and Social Policy
Chicago Black United Communities
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago Jobs Council
Chicago Women in Trades
Christ Lutheran Church & School
Clean Energy Works
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Community Services Agency, Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO
Compliance USA, Inc.
Constructing Hope Pre-apprenticeship Program
Dorchester/Roxbury Labor Committee
Equal Pay Coalition NYC
Equal Rights Advocates
Greater Orlando NOW
Green For All
Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Institute for Science and Human Values
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
Jane Addams Resource Corporation
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Madison Area Bus Advocates
Massachusetts Tradeswomen’s Association
Missouri Women In Trades
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of La Raza
National Employment Law Project
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
National Organization for Women
National Organization for Women, New York State
National Organization for Women, North Carolina
National Task Force on Tradeswomen’s Issues
National Urban League
National Women’s Law Center
National Workrights Institute
NAYA Family Center
New England Regional Council of Carpenters Sisters in the Brotherhood
North Dallas Chapter of the National Organization for Women
On Equal Terms Project
Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.
Partnership for Working Families
Pennsylvania NOW, Inc.
Public Justice Center
Saint Paul Church of God in Crist Community Development Ministries Inc./Project P.R.I.D.E
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Development Ministries, Inc.
The Center for Social Inclusion
The National Partnership for Women and Families
University of Miami Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Urban League of Portland
Vermont Works for Women
West Virginia Women Work
Wider Opportunities for Women
Women’s City Club of New York
Women’s Law Project
YWCAs of New York State
Patricia Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
Eric Seleznow, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary, Employment & Training Administration
John Ladd, Administrator of the Office of Apprenticeship
 A project labor agreement is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project and is an agreement described in 29 U.S.C. 158(f).
 DOL Regulatory Agenda at http://resources.regulations.gov/public/custom/jsp/navigation/main.jsp