April 1, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC - President Donald Trump signed a bill Mar. 27 repealing an Obama-era regulation that required companies bidding for federal contracts to disclose their labor-law violations from the previous three years.
The “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” rule was intended to give the government a way to deny contracts to employers that had “serious, repeated, willful, or pervasive violations,” such as wage theft, unsafe conditions, or discrimination, and had failed to correct them. Trump called it a “blacklisting rule” that “made it too easy for trial lawyers to get rich by going after American companies.” The rule was killed under a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act—used successfully only once before this year—that gives Congress the power to repeal any regulation within 60 legislative days after it is submitted. That also means the Labor Department cannot establish a similar rule without approval by Congress. “By blocking this rule, the president and congressional Republicans will ensure that taxpayers will continue to support contractors with a history of wage theft and health and safety violations,” Heidi Shierholz, a labor policy expert at the Economic Policy Institute, said in a statement. Read more