DC Trip Advances Regulations Push

Posted by: Gordon on 5/15/2015
Petitions handoff in DC
Donald Reed of United Congregations of Metro-East handed U.S. Department of Labor officials in Washington a stack of more than 5,000 letters and petitions asking for an update to federal contracting standards so more women and people of color can access good-paying jobs bankrolled by our tax dollars. 

In April leaders went to Washington to deliver more than 5,000 letters and petition signatures advocating to open more jobs on federal contracts to women and people of color by updating federal contract regs and enforcing existing policy.

“We got to meet with all the people we wanted to see and they came through,” said Donald Reed of United Congregations of Metro-East, East St. Louis, IL, who was part of the delegation.

The main goal of the trip was seeking to update federal contracting policy. Equal Employment Opportunity goals essentially mean government contractors' workforce must reflect roughly the participation rates of every sub-group  in the labor force, including women and people of color. Labor Participation Rate for people of color is estimated to have increased in the last 30 years, and yet the goal for minorities remains at 1980 rates for regions across the country.

During their visit, leaders laid out the case for advancing a regulatory update with a range of partners and officials in Washington. They also described some specific abuses that have flourished in the absence of an update and aggressive enforcement.

For example, Reed told officials at the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs how general contractors had listed his wife’s certified minority business enterprise in their bids for federally-funded work, then neglected to give her any part of the job after their bid was accepted. His wife’s business was certified through a program that UCM’s 100 Ready Workers group worked to establish with the Illinois Department of Transportation that fosters entrepreneurship among minorities.

“That was just one issue that came up during a series of meetings over the three days that leaders were in Washington,” Reed said.

In addition to meeting with Labor and Transportation department officials the group also met experts from Center for Community Change, Economic Policy Institute, labor leaders and Congressional staff members. Others who went to Washington included leaders and staff from Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin as well as California leaders who participated remotely via Skype.

Illinois Legislature Considering Contracting Resolution
Irma Wallace and Sen. Manar testifying on jobs resolution

Meanwhile, Faith Coalition has had great success in Illinois' capital, where legislators in the state House and Senate are debating a resolution proposed by state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Springfield.

The resolution authorizes legislators to “respectfully but emphatically urge the President of the United States, the Secretary of the United States Department of Labor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the members of Congress to update the regulations implementing Executive Order 11246, including the minority utilization goals [and]

urge the United States Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking providing guidance and regulations for implementation of Executive Order 11246, which accurately reflect the current state of the United States workforce."

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