Earlier this month, the U.S. House and Senate established a conference committee to continue debate on the House-passed H.R. 4521, the America COMPETES Act, and the Senate-passed S. 1260, the United States Innovation and Competition Act. Both bills contain troubling, restrictive labor policies that would dilute the effectiveness of the legislation and limit opportunities for much of the construction industry to participate in new programs authorized under these bills.
ABC opposes the following provisions in both bills and urges you to contact your U.S. representatives and senators to support the removal of this language during conference committee negotiations.
National Apprenticeship Act
- Includes the ABC-opposed National Apprenticeship Act which passed the House by a vote of 247-173.
- This proposal, drafted without bipartisan input, continues to include the rigid registered apprenticeship system into law; limits access to apprenticeship opportunities for hardworking Americans; directly discriminates against the industry performing on a merit shop basis; allows unions involved in a collective bargaining agreement to restrict the pool of apprentices; and limits the portability of registered apprenticeship programs throughout the country.
- Section 20302 of H.R. 4521, “Solar Component Manufacturing Supply Chain Assistance,” authorizes a system known as “card check,” which would result in the elimination of secret ballot elections as a method for determining if employees want to be represented by a union.Inclusion of this language would set a dangerous precedent for future legislation.
- Under a card check scheme, workers choose whether they want union representation by signing cards in public before their colleagues and union organizers, exposing workers to coercion, intimidation and harassment.
- Card check, which was included in the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, has been historically rejected by Congress on a bipartisan basis.
- Section 20302 of H.R. 4521 would implement mandated government interference in labor-management relations, which deprives workers of the opportunity to vote on their collective bargaining agreements by imposing mandatory arbitration when negotiations do not meet a specified timeframe.
- Section 20204 of H.R. 4521, “Critical Supply Chain Resilience Program,” states that to be eligible for a grant, loan or loan guarantee, the recipient is required to “remain neutral in any union organizing effort for the term of the grant, loan, or loan guarantee” or maintain any existing collective bargaining agreement during the life of the loan and for two years after completing repayment of the loan.
- Neutrality agreements limit the ability of workers to hear both sides of the argument in a unionization effort, unfairly influencing and coercing employees while shutting employers out of the process.
Expansion of Davis-Bacon
- Sections 20302, 23911 and 20304 of H.R. 4521, and Section 2506, “Semiconductor Incentives,” and Section 28, “Regional Hub Technology Program,” of S. 1260, would all expand Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, some into new areas of federally assisted, private industry construction projects.
- Expanding Davis-Bacon would decrease the value to taxpayers, fail to improve ongoing wage discrimination cases by the U.S. Department of Labor, drive up the cost of construction projects, lengthen the time for projects to be completed and severely affect small and minority-owned businesses.
- ABC supports removing Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements from H.R. 4521 and S.1260.
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