Labor unions and our allies came together to support union apprenticeship programs and defend the building and construction trades gold-standard of job training. 317,814 comments were submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor to keep IRAPs (industry-recognized apprenticeship programs) out of the construction industry. This is the greatest number of comments ever received by the Department of Labor.
Union members from across the movement, teachers, civil servants, healthcare workers and so many more of our sisters and brothers lent their voices in solidarity to this cause. For over 80 years, the Registered Apprenticeship model has served the construction industry and entire communities well by providing safe, structured learning environments where men and women from all walks of life can learn a trade and provide for their families with middle class sustaining careers. IRAPs will not provide any of that but will instead only serve to advance a race to the bottom and undermine the safety and financial security of hard-working families.
The North American Building Trades Union President Sean McGarvey issued the following statement:
“This historic number of nearly 325,000 comments submitted by working men and women across the United States, makes it clear that construction workers don’t want the federal government to cut wages and destroy jobs in a dangerous economic experiment. The message from Michigan to Florida, from Pennsylvania to New Mexico was absolutely clear: they don’t want the swamp to undermine their standard of living and the opportunity for future generations to realize the American Dream. These Americans voted for job creation, not lower wages. They voted to end the special interests’ grip on government. They voted to strengthen communities long forgotten, not put public safety at risk. Though the comment period on this major rule occurred in the middle of the summer vacation season and no customary extensions to the time for filing comments were granted, this historic engagement by working families should remind those in the White House and the Department of Labor who are pursuing their own, narrow, ideological agenda that the voting public is now on high alert and will be watching as this proposal develops.