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Federal government frequently contracts with labor law violators: report

labor laws --- dec13

Washington – Nearly 30 percent of employers that rank among the top violators of federal wage and safety laws receive federal contracts, according to a report issued Dec. 11 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee after a yearlong investigation.

In 2012, nearly half of all initial penalty dollars assessed by OSHA for violations were issued to companies with government contracts, the report states. Between 2007 and 2012, 42 workers were killed in connection with OSHA violations committed by companies that held federal contracts in 2012.

The report concludes that poor data, ineffective information sharing and contract officers’ lack of expertise in labor law are likely contributors to the number of labor law violators that have federal contracts. It recommends that the Department of Labor develop a database to clearly identify corporate entities investigated and penalized for labor law violations, and publish an annual list of contractors who violated federal labor laws. The report also states that contracting officers should have clear guidelines for determining a prospective contractor.