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APPEALS COURT CLEARS WAY FOR USE OF 'SEMI-SKILLED' WORKERS ON FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION SITES

APPEALS COURT CLEARS WAY FOR USE OF 'SEMI-SKILLED' WORKERS ON FEDERAL
 CONSTRUCTION SITES


Court Rules in Favor of Bush Administration; Organized Labor Suffers
 Setback, ABC Reports
 WASHINGTON, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Associated Builders and Contractors issued the following:
 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has cleared the way for contractors to use "helpers" or "semi-skilled" workers on federal construction projects.
 The court was asked by the Bush administration to determine whether the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1991, which denied funding for the DOL to implement the helper regulations, was intended to permanently ban the category. The court wrote that "a federal appropriations act applies only for the fiscal year that it was passed unless it expressly provides otherwise."
 The court also affirmed a lower court ruling which lifted a 10-year-old injunction against implementing the helper regulations. The Department of Labor has been attempting since 1982 to "redefine helper as a semi-skilled worker rather than a skilled (craftsman)." These efforts have been blocked in a series of legal battles with the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department.
 Associated Builders and Contractors, the national organization representing open (merit) shop contractors, has participated in every legal and regulatory step since the rule change was first proposed. Most recently, the group filed an amicus curiae on behalf of the DOL.
 ABC National President Steven Westra said the ruling "will significantly lower the cost of public construction work by allowing for a more effective deployment of manpower on the job site." He added that the ruling will bring federal construction practices "more in line with that of the private sector."
 In its decision, the court also rejected the formula for calculating a cap on the ratio of helpers to journeymen on federal construction projects. The court wrote the ratio was "arbitrary and capricious."
 According to the Congressional Budget Office, a helper category would save the federal government $2.6 billion over six years in construction costs.
 -0- 4/21/92
 /CONTACT: Dick Haas or Mike Henderson of Associated Builders and Contractors, 202-637-8800/ CO: Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


TW -- DC031 -- 0865 04/21/92 16:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 21, 1992
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