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Senate Labor Takes Testimony on Apprentice Ratios, MIOSHA Move

June 11, 2024

SBAM opposes this measure and other measures that seek to overregulate small businesses in Michigan. Click HERE to read our stance on Government & Regulations.

The Senate Labor Committee Tuesday took testimony on two bill packages, one that would address apprentice ratios for plumbers and electricians and one that would move administrative authority of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

First up, Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton)’s SB 740 would establish a one-to-two ratio for master plumbers to apprentices, a ratio not currently in statute. Those exceeding the ratio would face a $5,000 administrative fine for the first offense, a $10,000 fine for a second offense and a 90-day license suspension for a third violation.

Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint)’s SB 895 would reduce the job site ratio for electrical journeymen or master electricians to register apprentices from one-to-three to one-to-one, with the same penalties for violators.

The bill would also set up other “master electrician responsibility,” like supervision of electric wiring operations, and fire alarm technician responsibilities.

Chad Jansen, a journeyman with IBEW Local 665, was supportive of the ratio overall, but he said the biggest potential benefit is the ability to assess penalties for violating the ratio.

He said that could result in more apprentices being registered properly with the state, ending instances where they aren’t properly notified of the registration requirements and, down the line, aren’t able to get certification from their apprenticeship.

“Obviously, if your contractor is following the (rules) registering their apprentices, and then they’re following the one-to-one ratio … it’s going to make it so that the contractor and the master of record are actually invested in that person trying to become a journeyman for the state of Michigan,” he said. “If you have 1, 2, 3-to-six or whatever the ratio is … then at that point, that contractor and that master of record are not invested in that individual becoming the best journeyman electrician for the state of Michigan.”

During his time on the state’s Electrical Administration Board, since he was appointed last year, Jansen said 20 percent of cases have been made up of non-registered apprentices not able to get credit.

The bills were also supported by the National Electrical Contractors Association, and were opposed by the National Federation of Independent Business and the Michigan Chemistry Council.

The committee also heard testimony Tuesday on Cherry’s SB 829 and SB 830, which transfer administrative authority of MIOSHA from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services to LEO.

The bills would codify Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2019 executive order, which created LEO and transferred the authority of MIOSHA.

The legislation would also align civil penalties for MIOSHA violations with equivalent federal penalties and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act information used by LEO in connection with an employer’s request for consultation with the department.


Article courtesy MIRS News for SBAM’s Lansing Watchdog newsletter

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