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New Law Blocks Federal Blacklist

On March 27 President Trump signed into law a congressional resolution overturning the previous Administration’s attempt to blacklist federal contractors with pending and settled labor charges against them.

Both houses of Congress voted to end the 2014 edict, which arose from a 2014 executive order issued by President Obama mandating rule changes for federal contractors. The rule had been stayed by a federal court late last year (AA, 2-28-17).

If allowed to stand the rule would have required most federal contractors to file reports about all labor-related enforcement actions and lawsuits they were involved in over the previous three years.

Firms bidding on federal contracts of $500,000 or more were required to report all administrative merits determinations, arbitral awards, or decisions and civil judgments regarding 14 federal statutes and executive orders, and all similar state laws.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “The rule simply made it too easy for trials lawyers to go after American companies and American workers who contracted with the federal government.”

“The harmful Obama administration ‘blacklisting’ regulation could have prevented contractors from receiving a federal contract for an alleged labor violation before any wrongdoing has been proven,” said Lamar Alexander (R-N), chair of the Senate on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, observed, “This duplicative rule would have served only to empower union bosses, while undermining our nation’s military readiness and the ability of small businesses to compete for federal contracts.”

Ben Brubeck, vice president of the Associated Builders and Contractors, said, “The rule violated the due process rights of contractors by forcing them to report mere allegations of misconduct – which are often frivolous and filed with nefarious intentions by special interest groups – the same as fully adjudicated violations.”

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