“Blacklisting” rules draw business backlash

Posted on June 4, 2015 by Kathy Hoekstra

Proposed "blacklisting" rules for federal contractors are under fire from national business groups for creating burdensome and expensive reporting requirements.

Federal Register Landing clipped 20130227Proposed rules are on the books that would allow so-called “blacklisting” by federal agencies when vetting companies with whom to do business. And business groups are not staying silent during the 60 day public comment period.

The rules would force companies to spend time and money reporting to the government any labor related violations that took place in the previous three years. The rules also apply to a company’s subcontractor.

As posted in The Hill, several business organizations including Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are speaking out, saying the federal agencies would have “wide discretion to deny contracts.”

“Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the rule boils down to three words: “Unnecessary, unworkable and impermissible.”

“He said the rule is unnecessary because agency contracting officers already have the authority to determine whether past labor violations should force a contract denial; unworkable because it would flood the officers with a deluge of irrelevant information they don’t have time to process or use in any meaningful way; and impermissible because the proposal doesn’t explain what constitutes a violation.”

And a court challenge could be brewing as well:

“We’re looking at all our legal options,” said Ben Brubeck, director of labor and federal procurement for Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). “We think this will be an issue resolved through litigation.”

The proposed rules would apply to federal contracts of more than $500,000. The White House reports an estimated 24,000 businesses are under federal contract with some 28 million workers.

To read the piece in its entirety, click here.