127 Representatives, 45 Senators Oppose Disastrous IRAPs Proposal

Department of Labor

Write in Defense of Real Apprenticeship Programs

The OPCMIA applauds the 127 members of Congress and 45 U.S. senators who signed letters to the U.S. Department of Labor opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed new rule to allow the creation of lower-quality “industry-recognized apprenticeship programs” (IRAPs) and undermine the world-class apprenticeship programs run by North America’s Building Trade Unions.

The House letter — whose signers include Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Chair Rosa DeLauro, and Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee Chair Susan Davis — charges that the DOL’s proposed rule violates the National Apprenticeship Act.

The proposed rule “undermines key standards and protections that are necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices,” they wrote. They charged that it “undermines the existing [Registered Apprenticeship] system, including the investments States, employers and unions have made across the country, by enabling programs to be created with potentially lower quality standards under the name of ‘apprenticeship.’”

“The Department’s proposal is yet one more attempt to undermine the Nation’s registered apprenticeship system, which has existed for 80 years and enjoys broad support from Congress, workers, and industry alike,” the senators wrote. “Rather than invest federal taxpayer dollars in a duplicative, less rigorous, and unproven model of workforce training with little to no accountability, the Department and the Trump Administration should work with Congress and stakeholders to strengthen and modernize the registered apprenticeship system to build more pathways for workers to enter middle class jobs.”

Given the enormous and likely harmful impact of the proposed rule, both letters requested a 60-day extension of the public comment period, so it runs until October 25, 2019.

“This enormous outpouring of congressional support for the outstanding apprenticeship programs run by the OPCMIA and our brothers and sisters in the building trades builds on the thousands upon thousands of public comments submitted by working men and women fiercely opposing the so-called IRAPs rule,” said OPCMIA General President Daniel E. Stepano. “We are going to keep working with our congressional allies to turn the heat up so high that DOL has no choice but to withdraw its misguided scheme.”