Lunedi, 25 Settembre, 2017

Labor's Acosta to defend Trump plan to cut anti-bias office

Graphic shows employment levels and changes at the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2012 2c x 4 inches 96.3 mm x 101 Graphic shows employment levels and changes at the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2012 2c x 4 inches 96.3 mm x 101
Pammachio Corsino | 09 Giugno, 2017, 02:08

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, left, shakes hands with Rodney Tschirhart, right, who has 41-years of service with Milton after meeting Kenneth Jaynes, center, who has 39 years of service with company, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Detroit. Acosta discussed how to better prepare American workers for careers in advanced manufacturing.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is defending President Donald Trump's budget proposal to overhaul the way the government investigates workplace discrimination. Democrats say the civil rights cut is part of a government-wide effort by the administration to water down the government's role policing discrimination complaints.

Trump's budget recommends merging the office that enforces civil rights among federal contractors with the independent Equal Employee Opportunity Commission, which handles complaints against private businesses. The administration says the proposal will save taxpayer money.

Employers fear the proposal would create something of a super enforcement agency with overwhelming investigatory and punitive powers.

But workers' rights organizations predict the opposite would happen, viewing Trump's new combined agency as a way to make enforcement so onerous it happens less effectively.

"We need that information. They provide agricultural jobs", said Acosta, then dean of the Florida International University law school.


"This commonsense change combines two civil rights agencies that already work together closely", Acosta said in remarks prepared for Wednesday's hearing.

Acosta, a former Justice Department official who took office on April 28, said he is seeking additional public input. He called the proposed merger "a common-sense" move and said savings would come from "the streamlining process" and not from enforcement.

The EEOC resolved more than 97,000 cases in fiscal year 2016, and took in almost 92,000 new ones.

Republicans have long criticized the EEOC for its case backlog.

Parts of the rule were supposed to take effect April 10, but the Labor Department delayed that for 60 days to conduct the review. The budget proposes reducing staff from 571 to 440 employees and merging it with the EEOC, for a savings of just over $17 million.

"These are men and women who turned to the federal government for help and got lost in an inefficient bureaucracy", said Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., the chairman of the subcommittee on workforce protections, during a May 23 hearing.

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