Sections 371-379 (Pages 129-134) are titled “Prohibition of discrimination in employment on the basis of an individual’s status as unemployed“. That’s right, the bill would add “not currently doing anything useful for money” as a protected class in the realm of employment discrimination to the ones we are used to, such as race and sex. It states, in part, that “[i]t shall be…unlawful…for an employer to…publish in print, on the Internet, or in any other medium, an advertisement or announcement for any employee for any job that includes…any provision…indicating…that an employer will not…hire any individual for…employment…based on that individual’s status as unemployed”. The provision also outlaws hiring decisions on the same basis.
Some might say that’s a good thing. Why dump on the down-and-out who are otherwise qualified? The answer is that in practice, this is a provision that primarily benefits plaintiff’s employment lawyers, as the section goes on to award attorneys’ fees and a $1000 dollar-a-day award (for days not having been hired, and that can really add up by the time you get to trial) to anyone who sues under this provision. I’m allowed to say that since I used to be a plaintiffs’ (and also defendants’) employment lawyer.
Section 5 “Wage rate and employment protection requirements.” It states, in part, that “all laborers…employed…on projects funded directly by or assisted in whole or in part by and through the Federal Government…shall be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on projects of a similar character similar in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor…”
In non-right-to-work states at least, the “prevailing rates” will almost by definition be determined by the state of labor union contracts, having the effect that any employer who happens to employ non-union, and thus often more affordable, labor, will nonetheless be forced to accept a wage schedule handed down by the federal government commensurate with what union employees earn. At that point, there would no longer be any incentive at all to avoid non-union labor on a cost basis.
Another Stimulus Fiasco?
Likely. Stimulus I was a complete failure by all accounts since it didn’t create more than a handful of jobs after spending nearly a trillion dollars. Why should we even entertain the notion of Stimulus II?
Let’s take a look at some of the boondoggles we’ve learned about in Stimulus I ($800 billion).
***A 2009 report by the Energy Department’s inspector general warned that DOE lacked the necessary quality control for the $38.6 billion loan-guarantee program.