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Rigmaiden: Union apprenticeships are in danger and we have to stop this fast-moving train.

Union apprenticeships are in danger and we have to stop this fast-moving train.

A message and call to action from International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President Kenneth Rigmaiden:
In a huge bipartisan win last week, the House voted down the White House Domestic Policy Council’s desire to include the construction industry in planned pro-employer, non-union apprenticeship programs. These apprenticeships would undermine the longstanding, highly successful union-contractor apprenticeships with their own version that would cut corners and hurt workers and the public. Operatives within the Administration are pushing Congress and the White House right now to fund its Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program, or IRAPs.
Like the fox watching the hen house, the Labor Department would recognize about 70 different accreditors and grant them authority to determine if a program meets a set of apprenticeship standards that the Labor Department, itself, developed, without any oversight from any state or federal department of labor.
IRAPs would not be held accountable to any state or federal department of labor. So who will hold these ABC-affiliated contractors accountable to the White House’s goal of 100,000 new apprenticeships? The fox, it seems, would be watching the hen house. The Labor Department would recognize about 70 different accreditors and grant them authority to determine if a program meets a set of apprenticeship standards that the Labor Department, itself, develops. These programs would benefit the ABC-affiliated non-union companies, who want to cut corners on costs, wages and quality.
This is a four-alarm fire that we have to extinguish.
While we wait on the DOLs release of the draft regulations, likely soon, it’s time to gear up for the fight ahead. We need as many members as possible to add their voices when the final proposed rule is issued and open for public comment in the Federal Register.
Signing the petition is only the first step in this campaign but an important one. We will update you with the latest information, provide message points and other information you may need to let the Office of Management and Budget that the construction industry should be exempt from IRAPs.
In solidarity,
Kenneth E. Rigmaiden
General President
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