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New Trump Apprenticeship Rules ‘Are Like The Fox Guarding The Henhouse’

Published Sunday, August 18, 2019
by Tim Rowden & Mark Gruenberg/Via People’s Word
New Trump Apprenticeship Rules ‘Are Like The Fox Guarding The Henhouse’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - New Trump Department of Labor (DOL) Apprenticeship Rules, opening training for Building Trades jobs to cut-rate Non-Union Firms and their bosses - while threatening quality training and building standards - are “like the fox guarding the henhouse,” a veteran Construction Union Apprenticeship Trainer says.

But Workers and Unions concerned over the Trump DOL scheme don’t have much time left to object with the deadline for comments on August 26th, the Laborers report.  Comments can be filed, via Building Trades Unions, at

At the behest of the Corporate Class - and particularly Non-Union Construction Companies, the Trump DOL wants to establish new certification requirements for Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) that put the cut-rate contractors and their lobby in charge of crafting new non-registered Apprenticeship Programs with minimal government oversight.

The proposed industry-backed rule is a direct attack on Union Registered Apprenticeship Programs, which provide rigorous skills and safety training and must meet strict requirements set and enforced by the Department of Labor.

“We need to make sure the (Trump) Administration does not allow low-quality Industry Apprenticeship Programs, called IRAPs, in the construction industry.  IRAPs would open the door to Unskilled Workers - not only lowering Apprenticeship pay, but your wages and benefits as well,” the Laborers warn.

Trump’s rule would provide contractors with another means to steer Workers away from Union Membership, telling Workers they don’t need to be a Union Member to receive training.

Right now, the Nation’s Construction Unions run more than 1,600 Training Programs, all DOL-certified, providing top-tier training and letting thousands of Apprentices earn while they learn.

That relieves Apprentices of massive college student debt and lets them step right into well-paying Union Construction Jobs when they graduate.

And, those jobs include health care coverage and retirement benefits.

By contrast, the Non-Union Contractors whom Trump would put in charge of training new Workers offer low pay, no benefits, no pensions, and no job security, either.

John Gaal, Retired Director of Training and Workforce Development for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, said of Trump’s scheme: “It’s the fox guarding the henhouse.”

Construction Unions are urging Workers, including their Members, to protest, loudly, by the DOL deadline.

Laborers President Terry O’Sullivan warns, however, that the protests must be individual and not mass-produced, as DOL has already said it will disregard those.

“The construction industry already has quality Union Apprenticeship Programs that work,” said John Stiffler, who serves as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council. “Registered Union Apprenticeship Programs ensure Workers rebuilding our infrastructure have the highest level of training, keeping our communities and families safe.  They work for employers, they work for Workers and their families and they work for our communities.”

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