The Department of Labor officially ruled that the construction industry will remain exempt from Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). The initiative is a part of the Trump Administration’s goal to expand apprenticeship in the United States, and the original IRAP language included construction.
Building Trades unions objected to the inclusion of construction in the initiative citing that it would weaken the standards of training which would put underskilled workers on construction job sites, putting the rest of the workers in danger.
The construction industry pushed back via public comment on the ruling. According to Construction Dive, the DOL received “a total of 326,798 public comments about the ruling, the majority of which expressed opposition to the use of IRAPs in construction.”
Members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and fellow unions in the Building Trades, were a significant portion of that public comment total by rallying its members to submit tens of thousands of comments protesting IRAP in construction.