Business Seeks To Kill Blacklisting Proposal

Through their Washington-based coalition, the National Alliance Against Blacklisting (NAAB), major business groups are vowing to overturn regulations proposed by the Clinton Administration that would bar federal contracts from companies found -- or alleged -- to have unsatisfactory labor relations, employment, or health and safety records. The proposed regulations, which fulfill a campaign promise made by Vice President Al Gore to the AFL-CIO in 1997, were formally issued July 9 and are open for a 120-day comment period before adoption. NAAB says it will press Republican leadership to take action to prevent these regulations from going into effect. The coalition also will consider appropriate regulatory and legal challenges. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue called the proposal not only bad public policy, but probably illegal. Fortunately, the White House can neither arbitrarily decree the employment laws of this country nor formulate a capricious standard of labor relations -- no matter how much they wish to appease organized labor. Adds Samuel L. Maury, president of the Business Roundtable: The [proposed regulations] will undermine full and open competition and highly politicize the federal contracting process. The AFL-CIO defends the proposal: For too long, companies with outrageous health and safety records and flagrant violations of our labor, environmental, and employment laws have been allowed to contract freely with the government and profit from taxpayer dollars, declares Robert A. Georgine, president of the federations Building and Construction Trades Dept. The new procurement rules make it clear: If you break federal laws and regulation, you cant do business with the federal government.

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