Warren: Federal contractors repeatedly violate labor laws

Warren: Federal contractors repeatedly violate labor laws
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate confirms Labor Secretary Acosta Meghan McCain: Obama 'a dirty capitalist like the rest of us' Warren 'troubled' by Obama's speaking fee MORE (D-Mass.) on Monday released a report finding that federal contractors frequently violate labor laws, ahead of a Senate vote on repealing an Obama-era rule requiring prospective contractors to disclose violations.

"All Americans deserve a safe workplace and fair pay for a day's work," Warren said in a statement. "But too often, federal contractors break labor laws while continuing to suck down millions in taxpayer dollars."

"Instead of making it easier for companies to cheat their employees or threaten workers' health and safety, President Trump and Republicans in Congress should join Democrats in standing up for the hardworking Americans who do important jobs for our country," she added.

The report comes before the Senate plans to vote Monday evening on a resolution to roll back a regulation that requires prospective federal contractors to report proven and alleged labor violations committed within the past three years when they make bids on contracts of more than $500,000. The House has already voted to disapprove of the rule.

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Republicans have argued that the so-called blacklisting rule would not help workers and instead would violate businesses' due-process rights, increase compliance costs for businesses and make union bosses more powerful.

But Warren's report argues that the rule makes it easier for the federal government to choose contractors that will protect their employees. It also notes that that Obama's order did not bar companies with recent labor violations from receiving contracts.

The report stated that about two-thirds of the federal government's 100 largest contractors have been caught violating federal wage and hour laws. It also found that more than one-third of the 100 largest penalties imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration since January 2015 were given to companies that have held federal contracts in the last 10 years.

"The violation of labor laws and abuse of workers by federal contractors is common, repetitive, and dangerous," the report argued. "And in recent years, these disturbing patterns have continued."