BlueGreen Alliance Comments on U.S. Department of Labor’s Efforts to Weaken Apprenticeship Programs

The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of fourteen of the nation’s largest and most influential labor unions and environmental organizations, collectively representing millions of members and supporters, urges the Department of Labor (DOL) to withdraw its proposed rulemaking titled “Apprenticeship Programs, Labor Standards for Registration, Amendment of Regulations,” which would exempt Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) from being used within the construction industry for an indefinite period of time.

August 26, 2019

Allowing for IRAPS in the construction industry would undermine the entire trade. The construction industry has had great success with its registered, DOL-approved apprenticeship programs and has produced a high quality workforce as a result. This is because many construction unions, such as the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting and Sprinkler Fitting Industry (UA) and International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), subject their programs to stringent standards and oversight by the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship and Training or a recognized state agency. As a result, the construction industry accounts for approximately half of U.S. apprentices, despite the fact that construction workers make up less than four percent of the nation’s workforce.

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