Labor, Business in 'Blacklisting' Battle

By Nash, James L. | Occupational Hazards, September 1999 | Go to article overview

Labor, Business in 'Blacklisting' Battle


Nash, James L., Occupational Hazards


Regulations proposed by the Clinton administration would give the government power to deny federal contracts to businesses when there is evidence of "substantial violations" of laws protecting workers and the environment. The proposal has provoked strong support from labor unions and sharp opposition from business groups.

Calling the proposed rules "blacklisting" regulations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce accused the White House of granting a "political payoff to big labor" and promised an all-out fight on Capitol Hill. "The administration's blacklisting regulation is not only bad public policy, it's probably illegal," said Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney indicated his union wholeheartedly supports the new rules and will lobby members of Congress to do the same. "Taxpayers' dollars should not go to chronic lawbreakers," Sweeney said.

The stakes in the coming battle are large. According to a 1996 General Accounting Office report, the federal government spends more than $180 billion a year in contracts for goods and services. Approximately 22 percent of America's work force are employed by companies with federal contracts and subcontracts.

The proposed regulation was published in July in the Federal Register. Interested parties have 120 days to comment before the Office of Management and Budget issues final rules. …

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