It’s National ‘SAVE’ Apprenticeship Week: Labor Unions Across The Country Are ‘Uniting To Save’ Construction Apprenticeships From A ‘Cynical Proposal’ Coming From The U.S. Department Of Labor
The DOL Proposal ‘Would Gut’ Apprenticeships And ‘Turn Them Into Little More Than The Kind Of Low Paid, No Future Internships That Are All Too Common’ In The White-Collar World
This week, the U.S. Department of Labor Department is holding events across the country that showcase the businesses, Labor Unions and educational institutions that have certified Construction Apprenticeships.
Nearly 65% of all civilian registered Apprentices are trained in the Construction Industry and of those Construction Apprentices, 75% are trained through the Building Trades privately-funded Joint-Labor Network.
“Everybody wins under the current system and it’s worth celebrating,” said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) National President Lonnie Stephenson. “Our Members get a debt-free education that immediately puts them to work in their own communities building the infrastructure needed for all of us to thrive. Construction businesses get a highly-trained and motivated workforce with the skills to do the work today and grow as the industry changes. The public gets the safest, highest quality buildings, bridges and roads from a highly productive workforce.”
But now, Organized Labor Unions across the country are uniting to save Construction Apprenticeships from a cynical proposal from the Department of Labor.
The rule under consideration would gut these Apprenticeships and turn them into little more than the kind of low paid, no future internships that are all too common in the White-Collar World.
“We are calling it National ‘Save’ Apprenticeship Week,” IBEW Political and Legislative Department Director Austin Keyser said.
The rule - as written, he said, would allow construction companies to create Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship (IRAP) Certifications that give employers wide latitude to decide how many hours of instruction to provide, what wages to pay, what the curriculum covers and how much, or little, Apprentices need to achieve to graduate.
For now, the construction industry is exempted, but Non-Union contractors and Anti-Union interest groups are pushing hard to have that exemption lifted.
“We’ve been building our Construction Apprenticeship Programs with our industry partners for decades and Republicans have been trying to impose ‘second-rate’ IRAP Certifications on us for almost as long,” Keyser said. “All it would do is push more Working Families into poverty, undermine the gold-standard of construction Registered Apprenticeship Programs, jeopardize public safety and set off a race to the bottom in the industry.”
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