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Cummings Opposes Resolution Stripping Protections For Federal Contractor Employees

Feb 2, 2017
Press Release

Cummings Opposes Resolution Stripping Protections For Federal Contractor Employees

 

 

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 2, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, spoke on the House floor in opposition to H. J. Res 37, a resolution invalidating a rule that requires prospective federal contractors to disclose their history of labor law violations and requires agencies to evaluate those bidders who willfully, repeatedly and pervasively cheat workers out of their pay or endanger their safety at work.

In July 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order to prevent federal contractors with a history of serious, willful, and repeated violations of labor, employment and non-discrimination laws from being awarded federal contracts.

If this rule is repealed under the Congressional Review Act, then:

  • Congress will be putting employees of federal contractors would at greater risk of wage theft or unsafe working conditions.
  • Law-abiding companies will be forced into unfair competition with lawbreakers.
  • This or any future administration would be barred from issuing a “substantially similar” rule, absent subsequent enabling legislation.

 

H.J. Res 37 is opposed by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, and a coalition of 134 business, labor and civil society groups.

 

The resolution passed the House by a vote of 236-187.

 

 

 

Below are Ranking Member Cummings’ remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the House Floor today:

 

Floor Statement

Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings

H. J. Res 37, Disapproving the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule

February 2, 2017

 

 

            Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I yield myself such time as I may consume.  I rise in strong opposition to this resolution, which would disapprove the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule that was finalized in August of 2016.

 

            The Federal Acquisition Regulation requires federal contractors to be, quote, “responsible” and to have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.  The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule would require federal contractors to self-report on violations of 14 fundamental federal labor and non-discrimination laws. This includes laws like the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSHA, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Civil Rights Act.

 

            These federal laws apply to all businesses in the United States, and the vast majority of federal contractors comply with them as well. Unfortunately, studies by the GAO, the Center for American Progress, and others show that there are a few bad apples that consistently violate these fundamental federal labor laws, yet continue to be awarded federal contracts.  That is just plain wrong.  Americans’ tax dollars should not go to contractors who persistently and willfully violate such laws.

 

            It is also puts contractors who do obey the law at an unfair disadvantage, because they willingly bear the cost of compliance to provide safe and fair workplaces. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule would also improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal acquisition process by promoting healthy and productive workplaces.

 

            As the final rule notes, and I quote:

 

“Contractors that consistently adhere to labor laws are more likely to have workplace practices that enhance productivity and increase the likelihood of timely, predictable, and satisfactory delivery of goods and services.”

 

            This rule should be a win-win.  It helps the federal government ensure compliance with fundamental labor and non-discrimination laws, and at the same time improve the efficiency of the federal contracting process generally.

 

            I urge all Members to vote no on this ill-conceived disapproval resolution.

 

115th Congress