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2 minutes ago, C Culham said:

But a full refresh I believe will also remind you that it was not an exception but the tip of an iceberg that lead to discussions of application of the same standards across the board. 

Let's stay focused on the issue: Should COs, acting on their own authority, be proactive in enforcing the SCA by, among other things, interviewing contractor employees without express authorization from DoL? And does a contract subject to the SCA authorize COs to engage in such activities?

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Here is what the hearings were about:

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Today our Subcommittee will be conducting an oversight hearing to review the role of the Forest Service and the Department of Labor in protecting the health and welfare of workers on National Forest System lands.

This topic is very important to me and a number of Members of this Committee. Several of our colleagues asked former Chairman Pombo to conduct an oversight hearing on this topic last Congress but received no response. I am pleased that we are finally taking a look at this important topic, and thank my colleagues and our witnesses for joining us today.

The name ‘‘pineros’’ translates literally to ‘‘men of the pines’’ and refers generally to workers employed to perform important and often dangerous reforestation and thinning work on our National Forest System lands. In many cases, pin˜eros are working in the United States through the H-2B guest worker program.

A series in the Sacramento Bee in 2005 painted an alarming picture of the conditions facing pin˜eros while performing this important work on our National Forests. The series found documented employer exploitation, government neglect, crowded work vans in which workers died in car accidents, and a lack adequate training, protective gear and medical supplies. All this, despite the fact that these workers are on Federal land fulfilling Federal responsibilities.

Some have described the work done by pineros as one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. And one pinero was sadly quoted as saying, ‘‘it was like slavery.’’

The Forest Service responded in early 2006 by releasing new contract requirements intended to address worker safety. Yet, the Forest Service has never released an assessment of these efforts, making it difficult to determine what impact, if any, these new requirements have had on worker safety. Sadly, many have told us that nothing has changed. I look forward to receiving detailed information from the Forest Service today on the extent of their increased safety inspections, what the results of such inspections have been, and what more the Agency needs to be doing.

 

Here is what the Deputy Chief of Forest Service Business Operations said at the hearings, page 4, with reference not just to the SCA, but to several other labor and immigration laws:

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[O]ur posture relative to contract administration is that primary jurisdiction for H-2B workers resides with the Department of Homeland Security through its citizenship and immigration service and with the Department of Labor through employment and training administration, wage and hour division and occupational safety and health administration.

As contract administrators, we are usually the first interface and first contact with employees of contractors on national forest land. Our role is not to replace that role of the Department of Labor, state agencies or the Department of Homeland Security in the administration of laws within their jurisdiction. Our role is coordination with those agencies, oversight and reporting based on our observations in administering these contracts.

 

H-2B workers are "temporary, non-agricultural workers."

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Just now, Vern Edwards said:

Let's stay focused on the issue: Should COs, acting on their own authority, be proactive in enforcing the SCA by, among other things, interviewing contractor employees without express authorization from DoL? And does a contract subject to the SCA authorize COs to engage in such activities?

Okay so to further unpack and get on track go back to my post that responded to  to Don Mansfield's post and point directly to each and every instance where the CO needed express authorization from the DoL and was, in your view, the CO acting on their own authority and not that allowed by the 4 corners of the contract.

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11 minutes ago, C Culham said:

Okay so to further unpack and get on track go back to my post that responded to  to Don Mansfield's post and point directly to each and every instance where the CO needed express authorization from the DoL and was, in your view, the CO acting on their own authority and not that allowed by the 4 corners of the contract.

I didn't read your response to Don, and I won't.  He can read it.

But I am interested in the hearings. 

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19 hours ago, C Culham said:

For non-commercial item the inspection clause,

What inspection clause?  There are several.  Also, remember, contracts are between the government and contractor, not contractor employees.  What contract clause gives a contracting officer the right to interview employees or requires a contractor employee to consent to such an interview?

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The USACE handles tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of service contracts per year and billions of dollars worth of construction. They have very good HQ attorneys who specialize in labor relations. I would trust what the policy is and the basis for it. 

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1 hour ago, Retreadfed said:

What inspection clause?

It has been referenced in other posts - 52.246-4.

 

1 hour ago, Retreadfed said:

What contract clause gives a contracting officer the right to interview employees or requires a contractor employee to consent to such an interview?

52.246-4 (d)

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