Contractor ‘Blacklisting’ Challenge Advances for Vote

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By Tyrone Richardson

A measure that would permanently block new labor and employment law violation disclosure requirements for federal contractors appears headed for a House floor vote.

The House Rules Committee Jan. 31 approved the disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 37), which would scrap regulations and guidance implementing former President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order (E.O. 13,673). The measure also advanced on the same day worker advocates urged congressional leaders to retain the rule.

The rule requires businesses bidding on government contracts worth at least $500,000 to provide wage statements to certain workers, detailing their total and overtime hours, pay rates, gross wage and any itemized deductions. The rule, dubbed by business groups as “blacklisting,” also requires federal contractors to disclose labor and employment law violations when bidding on a new contract.

The disclosure requirements have been in limbo since a federal judge in Texas put much of the implementing regulations on hold in October. That decision, which allowed the separate pay information obligations to go into effect, is currently on appeal.

The disapproval resolution, authorized by the Congressional Review Act, is co-sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) the Education and the Workforce Committee’s new chairwoman, and House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio). The CRA requires a simple majority in each chamber of Congress to move to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature.

The measure is expected to advance in both chambers of the GOP-controlled Congress.

Permanent Block Sought

Before the hearing, Chabot told Bloomberg BNA that the rule needed to be stopped because it is “harmful to job creation.”

Chabot said lawmakers chose to attack the regulations via the CRA because the resolution would permanently ban the Labor Department from floating a similar rule in the future.

“It sends a message out there that if we are going to regulate, then we ought to be smart about it,” Chabot said. “We should not do things that will adversely impact job creation in this country and that’s what this particular regulation does.”

A coalition of 134 labor, consumer and civil rights organizations Jan. 31 sent letters to House and Senate leaders, voicing opposition to dismantling the rule.

“Employers that have the privilege of doing business with the federal government also have a responsibility to abide by the law,” the advocates wrote. “The Fair Pay regulations are crucial because they help ensure that federal contractors behave responsibly and ethically with respect to labor standards and civil rights laws.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tyrone Richardson in Washington at trichardson@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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