Thursday, March 6, 2014

Workplace regulations sign-on letter by 3/12/14

Elder Ford,

I am circulating the attached letter regarding the:

1) the Equal Employment Opportunity in Apprenticeship Regulations.

2) the Construction Contractors’ Affirmative Action Requirements and

Both sets of regulations are pending at the Department of Labor and the NPRMs are scheduled for April and September, respectively. If properly revised and enforced, the regulations would help provide qualified women and minorities access to careers in the skilled trades. Revising these regulations has been on DOL’s regulatory agenda since 2009 and it is critical that the rulemaking process move forward without further delay.

Since we last circulated this letter for signatures, we have been joined by the Building and Construction Trades at the AFL-CIO. Please review and email Danielle at by Wednesday, March 12, 2014 if your organization can sign on to the letter.


March XX, 2014


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 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.[1]  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, which 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 review the federal procurement process and ways in which it can be employed—for example,  through project labor agreements[2] (PLAs)—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 PLAs. 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 - The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced over two years ago 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. It has been scheduled and postponed at least three times and we hope that this time it will be issued as scheduled.[3] The current goals for the percentages of hours worked by women and minorities have not been reviewed since 1978 when they were set as part of a consent decree.  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.[4]  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 to increase the number of low-income people, people of color, and women in apprenticeships. While there has been an increase in the numbers of women and minority apprentices since 1978, overall figures remain low and must be improved.  Ensuring that women and minorities are provided opportunities to fully participate in registered apprenticeship programs through increased demand for registered apprentices and continued equal employment opportunity efforts is essential to increasing their numbers.


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.


While we are disappointed with the continued delay in beginning the notice and comment period, we ask that DOL move forward with these two sets of regulations.  Continued delay will result only in ongoing job and training deprivation for our most vulnerable workers.  Further delay also contradicts this Administration’s expressed commitment to pursuing an economic agenda where all individuals have access to quality jobs.  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, Franรงoise Jacobsohn at Legal Momentum, or Sonia Ramirez with the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO at







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




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