On AFSCME’s Lawsuit Challenging USDOL Final Rule Allowing States to Privatize Employment Services

Following is a statement from Michele Evermore, senior researcher and policy analyst with the National Employment Law Project:

“We applaud our allies at the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees for filing suit against the U.S. Department of Labor’s egregious final rule regarding staffing for Wagner-Peyser Act Employment Services.

“This rule would erode the quality of services that jobseekers throughout the nation need and deserve. The rule allows states to privatize essential Employment Service functions, such as job search, training, and placement assistance for jobseekers, and recruitment services for employers seeking to hire workers.

“Instead of these services being administered by dedicated, conflict-free public service professionals, this rule opens the door for private companies to control these public-serving functions, with no accountability to the public.

“Also egregious is the elimination of hiring requirements that ensure diversity in staff serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers—requirements that were put in place following findings of discrimination in the 1970s.

“With this rule, the Labor Department overturns eight decades of precedent. The workers who currently provide these services to their communities already do an outstanding job. State government employees who are hired and promoted based on merit under a civil service system are the core of the program.

“This is a solution in search of a problem. We urge the court to find this rule to be arbitrary and capricious, and to do so quickly, before any state makes an unfortunate decision that could hurt jobseekers and the hardworking civil servants who help them. Workers, employers, and their communities will depend on it.”

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Michele Evermore

Senior Policy Analyst, National Employment Law Project

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