Home » Kennedy, Barrasso urge Biden admin to reverse bureaucratic mandates for apprenticeship program

Kennedy, Barrasso urge Biden admin to reverse bureaucratic mandates for apprenticeship program

by Minden Press-Herald

“By punishing non-union job creators, the Department of Labor is also making it harder for Louisiana job seekers to build a career on their own terms.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in urging the Biden administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) to withdraw its proposed rule to discourage small businesses and non-union shops from taking part in the National Apprenticeship System.

“The new regulation the Biden administration is putting in place effectively attacks good jobs that use apprenticeship programs to train Americans for a variety of careers. By punishing non-union job creators, the Department of Labor is also making it harder for Louisiana job seekers to build a career on their own terms,” said Kennedy.

The Biden administration’s rule would discourage small businesses and other employers from participating in the apprenticeship program by mandating unrealistic union requirements.

“Businesses and other sponsors of apprenticeship programs already face financial and administrative burdens. The proposed rule further discourages employer participation. The DOL is imposing burdensome requirements, hindering flexibility, limiting non-union worker training, and forcing employers to comply with a grave agenda,” the senators wrote.

“The proposed rule requires all apprenticeship programs to provide a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom training. Employers understand the qualifications and skills a prospective employee needs to be successful. The one-size-fits-all Washington mandate does not take into consideration the various dynamics of apprenticeship programs across localities and industries. The burdensome requirement will also be particularly difficult for small businesses to fulfill as they may lack the flexibility and resources necessary,” they continued.

“In addition, the Administration is attempting to limit non-union apprenticeships. . . . This rule creates conditions where union membership is all but compulsory and undermines workers’ rights to choose union membership. This is especially pertinent in rural areas where a majority of apprenticeship programs are sponsored by small businesses with no union affiliation or where unionized workforces do not meet their unique needs. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, union membership rate in the private-sector for 2023 was 6 percent throughout the United States,” the senators concluded.

Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here.

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