The federal Department of Labor (DOL) has released new regulations governing Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). IRAPs would pose a major threat to our union apprenticeship system if they become recognized in the construction industry. The proposed rule would currently make our industry exempt from IRAPs, but anti-union interest groups are pushing to eliminate the exemption.
This is the largest threat against the building trades from a presidential administration in more than a generation, and we must take it seriously. This campaign to save our apprenticeships will only succeed with fast and successful action by local unions.
What are IRAPs, and how will they hurt us? IRAPs are loosely-regulated training programs that do not require the same quality of instruction, pay scales or journeyman graduation rates as our federally registered union apprenticeships. If IRAPs enter the construction industry they will undercut our apprenticeships all over the country, costing us work to the nonunion sector and making every jobsite less safe.
Therefore, our goal is to keep the construction industry exempt from the IRAP rule.
Registered Apprenticeship vs. Industry Recognized Apprenticeship
Top Message Points
These are the top message points that everyone should use:
Political coordinators and apprenticeship trainers have other message frames that they should deliver as well:
PCs are authoritative messengers on how this regulation works and how we will fight it. Emphasize that this is an attack on our union and we need to stick together to beat it. Be ready to answer questions about how the rule works.
ACs and instructors are trusted authorities on quality of training and safety. They should emphasize how IRAPs will devalue our skill certifications and the risk to life and limb of untrained workers on the jobsite.
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