Congress Votes to Repeal Blacklisting Rule

Source: AGC of America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:  Brian Turmail  (703) 459-0238;

Monday, March 6, 2017


Congressional Review Act Measure Repealing the Obama Administration’s So-Called “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Rule Protects Innocent Firms from Being Debarred by Unsubstantiated Allegations

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to passage tonight of a Congressional Review Act measure repealing the Obama Administration’s so-called “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” rule:

“Congress has wisely voted to preserve the integrity and fairness of the federal contracting process by voting to repeal former President Obama’s blacklisting rule.  This measure, the so-called Fair Pay and Safety Workplaces rule, would have allowed government officials to debar, or blacklist, construction companies from bidding on federal projects based on the mere allegation of labor law violations without any due process.

“To be clear, there should be no place in federal contracting for unsafe or unscrupulous firms.  Yet the former President’s measure did nothing to reform or improve the existing suspension and debarment process.  Instead, it created a new layer of bureaucracy that would have given federal officials broad discretion to punish construction firms based on any number of unsubstantiated allegations without establishing a process for those firms to defend themselves.  That is why the Associated General Contractors worked so aggressively to push for passage of today’s repeal measure.

“We urge President Trump to sign this measure into law as quickly as possible.”


Court Halts Blacklisting Executive Order

On October 24, the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas granted a request for preliminary injunction against parts of the Obama Administration’s implementation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, or “Blacklisting” as it is known, Executive Order. As a result direct federal contractors will not—at this time—be required to report labor law violations with their bids on federal contract solicitations and awards.

In addition, the court halted the federal government from enforcing the order’s requirement regarding contractor arbitration agreements with employees covering disputes arising out of sexual assault or harassment disputes, among other things. The court, however, does not bar implementation of the order’s paycheck transparency requirement scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2017.

The Obama Administration will very likely take steps to counter this court order. The situation, therefore, remains fluid. It is unclear how long implementation of this Executive Order and its various requirements will be delayed. The court order certainly delays implementation of the labor law violation reporting for solicitations on contracts exceeding $50 million issued on or after October 25 and the arbitration agreement requirement also scheduled to take effect October 25. Nevertheless, it remains undetermined how or if this court order will impact other implementation deadlines. To review when those deadlines as currently scheduled, see AGC’s comprehensive review of the EO here.

AGC and other business groups are currently determining how best to proceed, including whether to file another case separately and/or bolster the current legal effort. Ultimately, AGC’s goal remains not only temporary relief, but the complete dismantling of this unconstitutional executive order and its unnecessary regulatory regime.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325.