- By a vote of 49-48, the U.S. Senate rescinded the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations for federal contractors, reports SHRM. President Donald Trump is expected to sign off on the Congressional Review Act, which House lawmakers have already approved.
- SHRM says that by passing the resolution, Republican lawmakers removed the blacklisting measure affecting many federal contractors. The measure required contractors to reveal in their initial job bids whether they had been charged with violations relating to 14 labor laws.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who defended the regulations, released a report stating that 20 federal contractors received half of the largest wage assessments in 2009. Of the largest 100 federal contractors, 66 were caught breaking federal labor laws, the statement said, and each of the top 10 federal contractors have been cited for violating labor laws.
By rescinding the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations, lawmakers removed some of the protections federal contractors’ workers received, such as guaranteed pay for work, fair pay for work, anti-discrimination laws and safety policies. The question is: Will Republican legislators continue rolling back protective labor laws?
More importantly, will the EEOC, OSHA, NLRB and other government agencies continue strongly enforcing protective labor rules?
Susan Schaecher, a Denver-based attorney, told SHRM that the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations would have created a publicly assessable repository of contractors’ violations, whether they were officially charged with an offense or exonerated. That said, states’ consumer protection agencies also collect and publicize much of this information on local businesses, so a repository isn’t a new concept.
Warren’s report reveals some sobering statistics. Employers, and federal contractors in particular, shouldn’t sigh in relief now that the regulations have been rescinded. The pro-business political climate is also a fight-back political climate.
Therefore, workers who feel cheated out of their pay, discriminated against or unsafe on the job might turn to the courts for relief. That could mean large payouts for contractors found liable.