Equitable Federal Contractor Workplaces

UWUnited - Equity Begins with modernizing executive order 11246

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Unemployed Workers United is organizing a multiracial and multigenerational movement with unemployed, underemployed, and workers in precarious employment conditions dedicated and committed to creating an economy and society that respects all working people, their families and their communities. We organize workers across the nation with a focus on the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Tennessee, and Texas.

See our attached letter describing our recommendations on advancing worker equity in:

Equitable Federal Contractor Workplaces: DOL Should Modernize and Rigorously Enforce Executive Order 11246

In order to ensure that underserved communities, in particular BIPOC, immigrant, women, and LGBTQ+ workers, have equal opportunity to jobs, it is imperative that the DOL modernize and rigorously enforce Executive Order 11246 (EO 11246).

EO 11246 requires federal and federally assisted contractors to take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. However, EO 11246 includes regional workforce utilization goals that have not been updated since 1978; these goals also are not disaggregated.

The DOL can make EO 11246 truly meaningful by updating the regional workforce utilization goals using relevant Census data and disaggregating the goal to set a relevant standard for Black workers, women, and people of color on federal and federally assisted projects. Currently, given the outdated goals and lack of disaggregated data, too many underrepresented workers of color and women workers continue to be marginalized and excluded from good living wage jobs.

Updating EO 11246 represents a critical opportunity to set new standards for those who are historically underrepresented in federal contracts, with the potential to impact a vast spectrum of industries outlined in the infrastructure bill currently before Congress. This includes high road industries such as construction, public transit, personal care, roadway infrastructure, clean water infrastructure, utilities, and sustainable energy. Changes to EO 11246 will help to build equitable career pathways to employment for underrepresented populations with overlapping barriers through apprenticeships and holistic workforce development programs that center equity and provide training opportunities to support successful career attainment and upward mobility.

We urge the DOL to take the following steps for modernizing and enforcing EO 11246:

Utilize the most recent and relevant census data to set workforce equity goals for all DOL federally funded contracts;

Disaggregate data so that each racial group is individually defined to represent accurate rates of employment (and further disaggregate by ethnicity, for example, with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders);

Expand OFCCP funding to ensure rigorous enforcement and monitoring of updated and disaggregated workforce utilization goals. Build equitable workforce development pathways from Black and other underserved communities into quality jobs in industry sectors receiving federal DOL investments and assistance.

By doing so, the DOL can help to prevent and also more effectively address employment discrimination in order to expand equal opportunity and racial and gender equity.

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Idea No. 387

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