There are concerns that the federal government contracts with bad contractors which violate international core labor standards (e.g., freedom of association, right to bargain collectively as well as prohibitions against severe forms of human trafficking and child labor) as well as various civil and political rights.
Many of these scofflaw contractors are based overseas. AFGE needs to be involved in this debate to ensure that any changes to the procurement process take into account the needs of the acquisition personnel represented by this union. If you are a member of the federal government’s acquisition workforce, will you please take the time to respond to the following questions?
For example, does the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) give you the authority you need to deny contracts to scofflaw contractors? Should the procurement process be used to promote compliance with international core labor standards? Or is it the job of the acquisition workforce to award contracts, rather than police contractors on matters unrelated to performance?
Neither side in this debate seems well-informed about the day-to-day responsibilities of federal rank-and-file acquisition personnel. Even the most well-intentioned reforms aren’t going to work if they cannot be easily implemented. That’s why it is so important that the voice of the real acquisition workforce be heard in this debate.
Please provide in your email your name, your agency, and what acquisition work you do. If you’d prefer not to provide your name or want your response to remain confidential, that’s okay too.
- So should the procurement process be used to promote compliance with international core labor standards? Or is it the job of the acquisition workforce to award contracts, rather than police contractors on matters unrelated to performance? On which side do you come down—and why?
- What steps if any are taken by your agency to prevent contractors who violate international core labor standards from being awarded federal contracts, or at least make it more difficult for such contractors to get contracts? If steps are taken, can you provide details?
- Does your agency provide any guidance or training to help acquisition personnel to exclude scofflaw contractors from winning contracts, or at least make it more difficult? If so, can you provide details?
- If you are required by your agency to consider contractors’ compliance records with international core labor standards, how do you think that should be done? What are the potential problems or pitfalls associated with such a requirement? Would you need additional training? What sort of guidance would be helpful?
- Does the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) give you the authority you need to deny contracts to scofflaw contractors?
- When writing solicitations, would you feel comfortable including language that requires compliance with international core labor standards in the capacities required of responsible bidders? And in the evaluation factors and sub-factors on which contractors’ bids are judged?
- Would you feel comfortable considering contractors’ compliance records as factors with all of the other cost and quality factors in making award decisions? How much discretion do you think acquisition personnel should be given in considering whether contractors’ compliance records should influence award decisions? What if any guidance would you need to exercise discretion?
- Should acquisition personnel monitor compliance of contractors with international core labor standards? If so, how? What sort of remedies do you think should be sought for contractors that violate international core labor standards?
- Would you be willing to answer follow-up questions?