On Congress Blocking the Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces Rule

Following is a statement from Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project:

“Today, with Senate Republicans expected to follow the lead of their House colleagues and pass a resolution to block Obama’s rule on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, we’re reminded yet again of the scope of the dangers facing America’s workers—and of the continued willingness of so many of our lawmakers to protect big business at the expense of working families.

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“The common-sense rule that Senate Republicans today are expected to vote to invalidate—with the blessing of the president—is hard to argue with: It simply requires businesses seeking federal contracts of more than $500,000 to disclose violations of health and safety and other worker protection laws—the same way they have to disclose violations of other laws. Even when contractors have serious violations, the rule doesn’t punish them—it just ensures that they receive help from the government to come into compliance.

“Though its impact on employers is minimal, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule is important both because federal contractors employ one in five of America’s workers and because many businesses with the most serious workplace violations continue to be awarded federal contracts.

“Asking companies that receive taxpayer dollars to obey our nation’s most basic minimum wage and overtime and worker health and safety laws should be the bare minimum, but sadly, Congressional Republicans seem to disagree. Their actions let contractors with even the worst track records off the hook—a punch in the gut to workers, taxpayers, and law-abiding businesses.

“The final word on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, of course, lies with President Donald Trump, who has thus far supported the efforts of his fellow Republicans to dismantle the rule, despite promising as recently as his inauguration to stand up for workers above all else.

“When the Congressional resolution reaches the president’s desk, he has an opportunity to finally back up his promises to workers with more than just empty words. If Mr. Trump decides, as we expect he will, to sign the resolution, enabling this huge and unnecessary axing of worker protections, it will serve as yet another sign that his administration’s allegiance is to big business, first and foremost—not to the workers he pledged to help.”

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