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Jan
2015
29

Rhode Island Commission Considering Mandating Approved Apprenticeship Programs for Public Bids

Michael Sabitoni, one of the pro-apprenticeship movement's prominent voices in RI

Michael Sabitoni, RI BCTC President


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In Rhode Island, a “Special Legislative Commission to study the requirements and feasibility of implementing apprenticeship prerequisites for public works contracts” will hold its first meeting Thursday to discuss limiting bids on public works projects to companies with apprenticeship programs.  The Commission was formed at the end of last year’s legislative session.  

The state senate approved a bill last March which would have placed restrictions on who could bid on state and local construction projects.  The bill mandated that companies bidding on projects worth $1 million or more have approved apprenticeship programs and promise that apprentices work no less than 10 percent of a project’s total work hours.  The bill eventually stalled in the state house.

The state’s Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) supported the bill and believed it would have “leveled the playing field between union contractors who invest a portion of every prevailing wage dollar in training and non-union contractors who do not.”  

The bill’s opponents include the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns and the anti-worker lobby, the Associated Builders and Contractors.  

The panel for the new Commission was selected by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello.  It includes the bill’s lead house sponsor as well as prominent members of the state’s construction industry.

Michael F. Sabitoni, Laborers’ International Union 271; Andrew L. Cortes, Building Futures; John Sinnott, Gilbane Corp.; D’Von Myles, Atlantis Comfort Systems Corp.; William J. Baldwin, Baldwin Homes; Michael D’Ambra Jr., D’Ambra Construction Co.; and Representatives John M. Carnevale, D-Providence, and Jared R. Nunes, D-Coventry.

Michael F. Sabitoni is also the President of the Rhode Island BCTC.  Recommendations from the committee are due February 3rd, although that deadline is expected to be extended.  

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