The Operating Engineers applaud the Biden Administration for rescinding the Trump Executive Order that created the framework for industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). Two years ago, the IUOE launched a campaign against the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed regulations governing industry-recognized apprenticeship programs. Those regulations, which were sought by greedy, anti-union contractors, would have lowered industry standards and undermined our investments in our own training and apprenticeship programs.
The IUOE invests $180 million every year in training. Our apprenticeship programs produce the highest skilled, safest, most productive workers in the world who deliver projects on time and under-budget. Workers who complete an IUOE apprenticeship program earn $300,000 more over the course of a career. They are also less likely to be injured or lose their life on the job.
In total, over 300,000 comments were submitted to the Department of Labor against the IRAP program. IUOE members submitted close to 15,000 comments and other construction union members submitted thousands more. As a result of our efforts, we were successful in exempting construction from the final IRAP regulations. The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and other anti-union organizations however, still strongly advocated to rescind the exemption for construction.
The IUOE appreciates President Biden's leadership on strengthening registered apprenticeship programs and pulling the plug on an unaccountable corporate sop. Because of this decision, the Operating Engineers and other trade unions are better positioned to deliver the types of skill training required to rebuild this country.
Engineers Action and Response Network (EARN)