ROCKVILLE, MD — The Mechanical-Electrical-Sheet Metal Construction Alliance has disputed the effectiveness of the proposed apprenticeship program evaluation procedures included in H.R. 1950, the Apprenticeship Enhancement Act of 2001, in comments submitted recently to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight.

The alliance is comprised of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA). Altogether it represents 12,500 member companies in over 260 local associations across the country who participate in local collective bargaining and long-standing labor/management investment in jointly administered apprenticeship and journeyman upgrade training programs nationwide.

Alliance opposition to H.R. 1950 is based on three arguments. While the alliance agrees that there is a construction industry training shortage, the organization says the cause of that shortage is not lack of sufficient administrative procedures, but rather the failure of some segments of the industry to carry their fair share of the responsibility for workforce development. As the comments state, “It does not follow that the indisputable need for more and better trained workers in the construction industry requires or even is answered in part by legislative micromanagement of federal apprenticeship policy administration.”

It also points out that the procedures proposed in this bill circumvent administration of national apprenticeship policy by the Department of Labor, with input from the Federal Committee on Registered Apprenticeship, the National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors, and other state workforce development bodies.

In addition, the alliance states that specific aspects of the proposal do not address the failure of some sectors of the industry to invest sufficiently in workforce development and avoid entirely the important feature of training program oversight.

For more information on the alliance position, contact John McNerney, MCAA’s executive director of government and labor relations at 301-869-5800; (e-mail).

Publication date: 12/03/2001