Contractors Federal agencies Military

House committee OKs amendment to exempt defense contractors from disclosing worker safety violations

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Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

Washington – The House Armed Services Committee recently adopted a proposed amendment that would exempt many federal defense contractors from disclosing labor law violations.

Rep. John Kline (R-MN) sponsored the amendment, which the committee approved 34-28 within the proposed National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735). At press time, the full House had yet to weigh in on the amended version of the NDAA.

Kline’s amendment, if successful, would block President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order of 2014 from applying to contracts involving the Department of Defense. The Executive Order called for any employer pursuing a federal contract valued at $500,000 or more to specify previous labor violations cited by Department of Labor agencies, including OSHA.

Supporters of the Executive Order claim it helps protect workers and rewards organizations with strong safety records. Critics argue that the order creates an extra layer of burdensome regulation.

In a press release, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President for Government Affairs R. Bruce Josten praised the House committee’s vote to accept the amendment.

“The Chamber has opposed this executive order from the outset as imposing unnecessary and unworkable reporting burdens on responsible contractors and abridging their due process rights by requiring reporting of alleged citations and other unproven enforcement actions,” Josten said. “The House Armed Services Committee’s vote affirms that this E.O. would create serious disruptions in the contracting actions of the Defense Department thus impeding the government’s ability to supply our military with what they need to protect our country. We look forward to working with the full House to make sure this amendment is retained in the final NDAA bill.”

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