TAKE ACTION NOW: New Department of Labor proposal will decimate training and labor standards in registered apprenticeships


‘Fox guarding hen house’ rule would let contractors, industry set their own standards


FUNDED BY UNION DUES, Registered Apprenticeship Programs ensure quality, safe workmanship in the construction industry. A new proposal by the Trump Labor Department would put non-union contractors and industry groups in charge of crafting new non-registered apprenticeship programs with minimal government oversight.

The Trump Department of Labor is proposing decimating training and labor standards in Registered Apprenticeship Programs across the country by establishing new certification requirements for Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) that put non-union contractors and industry groups in charge of crafting new non-registered apprenticeship programs with minimal government oversight.

The new proposed industry-backed rule is a direct attack on union Registered Apprenticeship Programs, which provide rigorous skills and safety training and must meet strict requirements set and enforced by the Department of Labor (DOL). The proposed IRAP rule would provide contractors with another means of steering workers away from union membership, telling workers they don’t need to be a union member to receive training.

Legitimate professional trade associations — the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the Sheet Metal And Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) – have come out strongly against the administration’s proposal.

“The construction industry already has quality union apprenticeship programs that work,” said John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council. “Registered union apprenticeship programs ensure the workers rebuilding our infrastructure have the highest level of training, keeping our communities and families safe. They work for employers; they work for workers and their families; and they work for our communities.

“We have standards to ensure safe, quality work. This proposal, like so many from this administration, seeks to put business groups in charge and would erode the very standards that have made these programs so successful,” Stiffler said. “We have to let the Department of Labor know that working people won’t stand for this.”

John Gaal, retired director of training and workforce development for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, said, “It’s the fox guarding the henhouse.”

With 36 years’ experience in apprenticeship training, first as an instructor and later as director of workforce training and development, Gaal understands every aspect of the apprenticeship process and said this proposal “will destroy a good pathway for a lifetime career for kids not wanting to go to college.”

The Department of Labor is asking the public for feedback on this misguided proposal through Aug. 26.

North America’ Building Trades Unions (NABTU), the AFL-CIO umbrella group representing 15 individual building trades unions, is calling on all union members to contact the DOL and voice their opposition to the proposed changes.

Tell the Labor Department to keep its hands off union Registered Apprenticeship Programs by submitting a comment at https://www.saveconstructionapprenticeships.org/#/34. Scroll down the page to fill-in your information and submit a comment.

Apprenticeships are key pathways to gainful employment, training workers for highly skilled jobs while paying living wages and providing health care.

NABTU’s world-class registered apprenticeship programs train U.S. workers to become highly skilled, six-figure-earning construction workers through a debt-free, technologically-advanced education.

These union earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship programs pay family-sustaining wages and provide health care coverage and retirement benefits.

These union-funded Registered Apprenticeship Programs, and the workers who benefit from them, are directly in the crosshairs of the Trump administration.

The Trump DOL proposal would drive down standards for the world-class apprenticeship programs that workers and industries depend on and jeopardize good jobs and safety standards in the construction industry.

“If we don’t act soon, before Aug. 26, Labor will regret the economic outcome for decades to come,” Gaal stressed.

Take action to help save union apprenticeships by submitting a comment to the U.S. Department of Labor at https://www.saveconstructionapprenticeships.org/#/34. Scroll down the page to fill-in your information and submit a comment.



  1. Why would you take away our country’s best way to.have an excellent labor work force ? What are you thinking ? Make this stop now, or there will be immediate consequences. We need apprentices badly to replace the retiring baby boomers. STOP this action NOW !!!!

  2. Trump and the dol can back off union apprenticeship training centers, we don’t need your help we have the best most qualified people, unlike your hapless administration!

  3. We need the apprenticeship program ,it insures safety ,they learn to do things the right way,not the fastest way . They need to be safe on their jobs, as some are very dangerous. These young men and women that are taking over the ones who are retiring need to go home to their families safely every night . Without any apprenticeship training there will be very bad consequences . Thank you. And keep these schools going!

  4. DOL’S PROPOSAL WOULD DRIVE DOWN STANDARDS…That is complete BS and Propaganda.PROVE IT!! This is just part of the Building Trades and Sean McScumbags (McGarvey)organize by extortion campaign.The same Building Trades and Sean McScumbag (McGarvey) who is robbing Union Retirees as President of the Building trade organization called the NCCMP.This is nothing more than a campaign to oppose all other apprenticeship programs but Union programs and eliminate the competition. This campaign also has included demanding local,city and state regulations that includes apprenticeship training as a condition of employment on job sites. Nothing more than part of the ongoing organize by extortion campaign .Demand training and then demand ONLY Union training is acceptable so workers are forced to join a Union criminal enterprise like the UBC. Some Union apprenticeship programs are indeed good and some absolutely suck. Hasn’t the UBC just decided it takes 6 years to teach some moron to sheetrock. They can Stick the AFL-CIO building trades, Sean McGreedy and this BS campaign in their ass.


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