Nationwide Attack on Apprenticeship Programs
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced their proposed rule to deregulate apprenticeship programs across the United States. This proposed rule would create a track of apprenticeship that no longer has to go through the process of registering to the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Council. This also means that employers would no longer have to abide by training reporting standards to the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Council. By not having to follow these rules, this will make it easier for employers to cut wages and line their own pockets with the extra earnings.
It’s important to note that this current proposal EXCLUDES construction, but there are many entities that want construction to be included in this new rule in order for them to put more money in their pockets, and not pay you the wages you have rightfully earned.
Across the United States, contractors have used apprenticeship as a way to evade federal and state prevailing-wage laws for years. They do this by lying about whether an apprentice is actually registered, which is the only way a worker on public-works projects can be paid less than the prevailing wage. If this rule is allowed into construction, there will be a massive hole blown in prevailing-wage laws, and we cannot allow this attack on prevailing wages and apprenticeship.
What are the consequences if this change of policy is confirmed?
- Currently, registering an apprentice under false pretenses in order to avoid paying a journey worker prevailing wage is fraudulent. However, under the proposed change, this would create a legal loophole and allow this action.
- If this policy is confirmed, this would also allow contractors to only pay apprentices the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour.
The anti-union ABC is aggressively lobbying to include construction in the final version of the rule. Unfortunately, the Associated General Contractors adopted the same position as well.
We need ALL MEMBERS, YOUR FRIENDS, AND YOUR FAMILY to submit comments to the DOL by August 26, 2019 and urge them to keep the exclusion for construction in the industry-recognized apprenticeship program final rule.
There are two links to submit comments through. One is strictly for union members and the other one is for friends and family:
We need all members to stand together to win this fight, it is critical that you talk to your Local 49 brothers and sisters, friends, and family about this issue. For any additional information, questions or concerns please contact Local 49 Political Organizer, Kipp Hanson at 612-391-7176.