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The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order was expected to come into effect on October 25, however an injunction filed by groups including the Associated Builders and Contractors is preventing the order from taking effect.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national U.S. trade association, which performed over 60 percent of all multi-million federal government construction contracts from 2009 to 2015.
As we’ve covered on our site before, the aim of Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces is to protect workers by disqualifying contractors who’ve had labor law violations in the past three years from winning government contractors.
A Texas judge agreed with ABC’s legal challenge on the grounds that it infringes “the First Amendment rights of government contractors.” Since private companies would be required to publicly disclose “mere accusations of labor law violations that have not been fully adjudicated.” The injunction will remain in place as litigation continues for a lawsuit ABC filed at the same time.
Although the Executive Order would require contractors to disclose accusations of labor law violations, the order would also require the disclosure of proven labor law violations. The order was based on a Senate report which found between 2007 and 2012 there were 42 American worker deaths directly related to their respective companies’ OSHA violations.
“ABC supports policies that promote fairness and competition in government contracting while holding bad actors accountable,” ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor & State Affairs Ben Brubeck stated, “but [ABC] has long maintained that this rule would violate the constitutional rights of contractors and drive up costs to taxpayers.”
“Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to companies that violate workplace laws,” President Obama famously said back in 2014 when the Executive Order was initially passed.
By filing the injunction, ABC has prevented the government from taking the necessary steps to hold these ‘bad actors’ accountable. Between 2007 and 2012, a total of 1,776 violations and $196 million in penalties and assessments were issued to 49 federal contractors. Those same contractors had been awarded over $80 billion in taxpayer dollars for federal contracts.
The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order would disqualify contractors who have had labor law violations within the past three years from bidding on these contracts. However, moving forward, the order would also entice employers to work within the labor laws and award the employers who have clean records.
After all, OSHA — the federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation — is not intent on shutting down job sites, but rather working with employers to ensure workers are safe.
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