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  • Writer's pictureVirginia AFL-CIO

Labor Wins Against DeSteph's Dangerous Apprenticeship Bill

Richmond, VA -- Today in Senate's General Laws and Technology Committee, Senator Bill DeSteph (R-8) presented his bill S.B. 371 - Apprentice agreements; ratio of journeymen to apprentices (introduced last year as S.B. 1169). This bill if enacted would decrease and limit the ratio of journeymen to registered apprentices creating highly unsafe and disastrously dangerous learning and working environments.

Several Virginia State Building Construction Trades Council members were in attendance; including President Jason Parker, who gave dynamic testimony against the bill; along with several other represented unions and Governor Northam's administration representative.

In an interview when asked to share his overall feelings on the bill, President Parker was quoted saying: "Construction jobs are dangerous and they are most dangerous when you enter into the jobs as an apprentice, and we need to protect those young people--those craftspeople that we depend on for our future."

The bill hearing was tense,

but labor's voice was louder than those attempting to push the legislation through.

[Click the video to the right to watch how the bill's presentation, discussion, and voting went.]

The bill was killed in committee with a vote of 10-4; among the 10 votes in opposition of the bill were Republican Senators Kiggans (R-7) and Vogel (R-27) who demonstrated a strong solidarity with Virginia's workers and their safety with this vote.

Congratulations to workers across the Commonwealth. Worker voices are being heard, and worker protections are being enforced.

View the bill on the General Assembly website here.

View the bill summary below.

Patron: DeSteph

Apprentice agreements; ratio of journeymen to apprentices. Prohibits the Apprenticeship Council from adopting standards for apprenticeship agreements governing the numeric ratio of journeymen to apprentices that require more than one journeyman per two apprentices. Under the bill, this limit on the ratio of journeymen to registered apprentices does not apply to work performed under the federal Davis-Bacon Act.

A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 40.1-120 and 40.1-126 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 40.1-120.1, relating to apprenticeships; ratio of journeymen to apprentices.

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