Save Construction Apprenticeships & PRO Act

Save Construction Apprenticeships

North America's Building Trades Unions' (NABTU) world-class registered apprenticeship programs train U.S. workers to become highly-skilled, six-figure earning construction workers through a debt-free, technologically-advanced education. These earn-as-you-learn programs pay family-sustaining wages and provide health care coverage and retirement benefits. These programs also ensure the workers rebuilding our infrastructure have the highest level of training, keeping our communities and families safe. However, these programs and our future is at risk. A new proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) could drive down training and labor standards in construction registered apprenticeship programs and set off a race to the bottom throughout the industry. 

  • In June, the DOL proposed regulations to implement Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). Unlike the Registered Apprenticeship model, the IRAPs puts the fox in charge of the henhouse. The new IRAP system will give private organizations, such as employers and trade associations, free rein to create new watered-down standards and certify subpar apprenticeship programs.
  • The construction industry is, by its very nature, among the most dangerous industries. Workers perform difficult physical labor and are often exposed to extreme temperatures, heavy machinery, and toxic substances. To guard against industry’s inherent dangers and promote first-rate work, workers must receive the highest quality education and training. For over 80 years, Registered Apprenticeship Programs have provided just that.

  • The proposed IRAPs differ significantly from Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Construction registered programs help recruit, train and retain workers through progressive wage increases; apprentice-to-journeyworker ratios that promote safety; quality assurance assessments by the government; uniform standards; mandatory safety training; instructor eligibility requirements; and transparency requirements. The proposed IRAP regulations abandon the important protections of the registered model and give employers license to implement whatever low-road standards they see fit.
Here's how you can help:
  • Circulate widely the comment portal created by NABTU ( to allow friends, family and allies to leave a comment with the Department of Labor opposing this rule change. NOTE: NABTU unions are using their own, separate portal to collect comments from members of their unions

  • Utilize the social media graphics at this link to drive conversations and outreach on this issue.
Pro Act
As you know, a significant legislative priority of the AFL-CIO is HR 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. Our goal is to sign 218 co-sponsors of this legislation, which would rewrite the rules around labor law in this country.  As of this writing, there are 179 co-sponsors. 
To assist you in outreach, you can see up-to-date co-sponsor lists at this link and you can find additional background information and talking points at this link.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact Advocacy Hub Director Bill Samuel ([email protected]) directly