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Despicable: Associated Builders & Contractors Protesting DOL’s Disabled Worker Hiring Policy


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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story suggested that the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) had opposed the provisions in the described DOL rule concerning the hiring of veterans. It turns out that this was incorrect and that we misread the original Paint Square piece (link below). Instead, the ABC is only opposing the portion of the DOL rule aimed at disabled workers.


Sometimes the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) make it too easy. On November 19th, the anti-worker association — which represents 19,000 construction and “industry-related” firms (some of which are car dealerships) — filed a request for an injunction against a new Department of Labor (DOL) rule which is intended to promote the hiring of disabled workers. Geoff Burr, ABC vice president of federal affairs, said that the DOL has exceeded its authority with the new rule. He calls it “wasteful and burdensome.”

Do you hear that? There seems to be an unmistakeably unpatriotic whir in here…?

Paint Square explains the new DOL rule:

The rule, for federal contractors and subcontractors, establishes a nationwide 7 percent hiring goal for qualified individuals with disabilities. The goal applies to each job group in a company with more than 100 employees, or to the entire workforce for companies with 100 or fewer employees.

The rule updates requirements under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Simple enough. The DOL would like federal contractors to hire more disabled workers. But the ABC? They don’t think anyone should have to do paperwork or be held accountable for anything but the bottom line. Handicapped folks don’t need a better shot at getting jobs. No, not at all.

In a statement, Burr decried the selfless, benevolent DOL initiative:

ABC supports nondiscriminatory practices toward individuals with disabilities on government construction projects, “and we will remain committed to placing these individuals in good construction jobs,” ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr said in a statement.

“However,” Burr added, “this rule will do nothing to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“Instead, the new burdens it imposes mean many construction contractors are likely to stop pursuing government construction projects—particularly small businesses that currently provide services, but lack the resources to meet the rule’s new burdensome requirements.”

TRANSLATION: ‘We would like to continue saying we’re doing the right thing, even though we’re not, without having to prove it. Cool?’

The ABC doesn’t want to “maintain written documentation and track whether the percentage of protected employees meets affirmative action requirements for federal projects,” and, according to Paint Square, they are criticizing “a provision that requires contractors to ‘invite all job applicants to voluntarily inform the contractor whether they are disabled before they receive offers of employment.'”

You know what, lady with a disability? Hush your mouth. Everything will be fine. We’ll hire you eventually. And when you’re hired, you can be sure that you’ll breathe as many cancer causing dust particles as we can lobby for! And that our contractors will have a history of people dying on the job. Trust us!


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