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Contractors Lobby Actually Protesting Labor Dept's Veteran and Disabled Worker Hiring Policy

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Sometimes the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) make it too easy. On November 19th, the anti-worker association - which represents 19,000 construction and “industry-related” firms (like car dealerships) - filed a request for an injunction against a new Department of Labor (DOL) rules which is intended to promote the hiring of veterans and disabled workers. Geoff Burr, ABC vice president of federal affairs, said that the DOL has exceeded its authority with the new rule. He calls it "wasteful and burdensome."

Paint Square explains the new DOL rule:

The rule, for federal contractors and subcontractors, establishes a nationwide 7 percent hiring goal for qualified individuals with disabilities. The goal applies to each job group in a company with more than 100 employees, or to the entire workforce for companies with 100 or fewer employees.

The rule updates requirements under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The disability hiring rule was released with a companion Final Rule to Improve Job Opportunities for Protected Veterans.

That rule, which updates requirements of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVVRA), requires federal contractors and subcontractors to establish “annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans,” using one of several methods described in the rule.

Contractors must also document and update annually “several quantitative comparisons for the number of veterans who apply for jobs and the number of veterans they hire.”
The veterans’ rule would also take effect March 14.

Simple enough. The DOL would like federal contractors to hire more veterans and disabled workers.  But the ABC? They don’t think anyone should have to do paperwork or be held accountable for anything but the bottom line. Veterans and handicapped folks don’t need a better shot at getting jobs. No, not at all.

In a statement, ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr decried this selfless, benevolent DOL initiative:

ABC supports nondiscriminatory practices toward individuals with disabilities on government construction projects, “and we will remain committed to placing these individuals in good construction jobs,” ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr said in a statement.

“However,” Burr added, “this rule will do nothing to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities."

Instead, the new burdens it imposes mean many construction contractors are likely to stop pursuing government construction projects—particularly small businesses that currently provide services, but lack the resources to meet the rule’s new burdensome requirements.

TRANSLATION: ‘We would like to continue saying we’re doing the right thing, even though we’re not, without having to prove it. Cool?

The ABC doesn’t want to “maintain written documentation and track whether the percentage of protected employees meets affirmative action requirements for federal projects,” and, according to Paint Square, they are criticizing “a provision that requires contractors to ‘invite all job applicants to voluntarily inform the contractor whether they are disabled before they receive offers of employment.’”

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