City Contractors Failing to Meet Diversity Goals to Face Penalties Including Debarment
Philadelphia, Jan. 21, 2016 – Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday proposed legislation that would increase the City’s ability to enforce workforce diversity requirements among entities receiving some public financial benefit, whether through a contract for services or development incentives such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
The bill, introduced on Council President Clarke’s behalf by Councilwoman At-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown, amends Section 17-107 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Contractors: Labor-Management Relationships,” by requiring the City’s Labor Standards Unit to enforce the City’s contract requirements for workforce diversity and by providing penalties for failure to make good faith efforts to meet workforce diversity goals.
“Philadelphia’s workforce should reflect the diversity of our population, but too often employers in both the private and public sectors fall short. City Hall’s influence over the private sector might be limited, but we have the ability to set the standard for equal opportunity and inclusion,” Council President Clarke said. “All those wishing to do business with the City of Philadelphia should share our goals for workforce diversity. Those who don’t should be shown the door.”
A report released by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) this month showed that contractors with the City are still not meeting goals set by Economic Opportunity Plans (EOPs). Just 22 percent of hours worked on completed projects were done by minority males, as compared to the goal of 32 percent, and 1.9 percent of hours worked on completed projects were performed by minority women, short of the goal of 7 percent.
The legislation proposed by Council President Clarke would require contract specifications for all city work and covered projects to contain a provision stating OEO-established workforce diversity goals that the contractor must meet using good faith efforts, in addition to the prevailing wages to be paid for each occupational classification of employees.
Under current law, the City’s Finance Director must file an annual report analyzing the extent of workforce diversity on projects and contracts requiring economic opportunity plans and
identifying appropriate workforce diversity goals for future projects and contracts. Under the proposed legislation, workforce diversity enforcement duties will be assigned to the Office of Labor Standards to be coupled with its existing enforcement of the City’s prevailing wage laws. Upon a finding of failure by any contractor or subcontractor to pay the applicable prevailing wage to any employee, or to make good faith efforts to meet workforce diversity goals, the Office of Labor Standards may direct the appropriate department to withhold from the contractor on the applicable City-work contract or covered project such sums as it believes appropriate to ensure compliance, which may include but not be limited to any sums remaining due on the contract.
In addition, no contract for City work or a covered project shall be awarded to any contractor or subcontractor, or any principal, affiliate, successor or assignee of any contractor or subcontractor, who has been found to have intentionally violated any provisions of Section 17-107 or who has been found to be in violation with respect to more than one City-work contract, covered project, or subcontract within the previous three years. The privilege of entering into a work or financial agreement with the City of Philadelphia may be restored only after three years have elapsed from the date of the determination of a violation, or at the discretion of the Director or the Board of Labor Standards in the event of an appeal.
Council President Clarke’s bill is can be found here.
Council President Darrell L. Clarke is serving his second term as the President of Philadelphia City Council. He represents Philadelphia’s 5th Councilmanic District. More information at phlcouncil.com/DarrellClarke