Wondolowski: IRAPs will harm the union construction industry

Dave Wondolowoski, Executive Secretary of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, made his monthly appearance on America’s Work Force Radio on Aug. 13 to warn about the dangers of Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, called IRAPs.

Wondolowski and AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc talk about the creation of IRAPs, which will hurt the union construction industry.

Dave Wondolowski

CBCTC Executive Secretary Dave Wondolowski

In June, the Department of Labor issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish a process for the DOL to create IRAPs. While IRAPs will be beneficial in some industries, they could cause irreparable harm to registered apprenticeships found within the union construction industry.
Unlike the building trades registered apprenticeship program, IRAPs would allow private organizations, such as employers and trade associations, the ability to create their own apprenticeship programs, but not be subject to the same stringent regulations as registered programs.

This means IRAPs do not have to follow the same rules as registered apprenticeship programs, creating a race to the bottom in terms of training.

Ed "Flash" Ferenc

Ed “Flash” Ferenc, host of AWF.

Wondolowski warned IRAPs could lead to non-union contractors creating a permanent apprenticeship class, earning minimum wage.

On Davis-Bacon or Prevailing Wage projects, union contractors would not be able to compete against non-union contractors who only bid on projects using crews consisting entirely of apprentices.
He warns IRAPs will do irreparable harm to the union construction industry and urges all members, their family and the general public to comment on the DOL’s website, telling the DOL the current IRAP exemption for the construction industry should be made permanent.

Click here to listen to the entire interview and learn more about the dangers of IRAPs.

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