Responsible Bidder Process Should Not Exclude Non-Union Companies

The NACC Business Works Committee voted to oppose a requirement in the local “responsible bidder process” (RBP) that would exclude non-union companies and their sub-contractors from bidding on capital projects in Naperville. Should this requirement be included in the “responsible bidder process” City of Naperville ordinance, all companies who bid on local capital projects and their subcontractors must participate in a U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship training program. 

Requiring such programs clearly discriminates against non-union companies preventing them from bidding on high-dollar capital projects.  It further discriminates against sub-contractors, many of whom are small or minority-owned businesses, from securing work through government contracts.  It is not feasible or financially viable for many small businesses to have a United States Department of Labor (USDOL) approved apprentice and training program outside a union-driven initiative.

Should the apprenticeship requirement pass, the City of Naperville will have significantly reduced competition for contracts. The apprentice and training requirement will stymie small contractors from bidding on local public works projects, which lessens competition and increases the cost of public projects increasing the burden on taxpayers. Additionally, it will become more difficult for the city to procure local contractors and use local labor.

A key legislative priority of the NACC advocacy efforts is to support education and workforce development.  However, investment in workforce development must be made equitably.  Giving preferential treatment to unionized businesses with established USDOL sanctioned apprenticeship programs is not equitable.

Requiring all bidders and sub-contractors to participate in active apprenticeship and training programs approved and registered with the USDOL’s Office of Apprenticeship is bad policy and prevents fair competition among members of our business community and discriminates against our small and minority-owned businesses. Please reach out to the NACC if this policy would be a threat to your business.

The Responsible Bidder issue is scheduled to be up for city council review at their Sept. 6th meeting.

On a personal note, this is my last article as the Director of Government Affairs at the NACC.  I am relocating to the Western North Carolina mountains to work full-time in real estate. I wish each of our Chamber Members the most tremendous success.  Please lean on the NACC as a resource and let’s all be vigilant in advocating for business-friendly policies to ensure the continued success of our business community.

Reba Morgan Osborne, former NACC Director of Government Affairs

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