CWA and USW Fight to Intervene, Oppose Oracle’s Attempt to Shut Them Out of Case

Trump Administration Not an Adequate Representative for Workers

Washington, D.C. — CWA and USW pushed back against Oracle’s efforts to prevent them from intervening in its suit against the Department of Labor. Oracle’s lawsuit, which seeks to strip the federal agency of its authority to enforce civil rights laws against federal contractors, poses a grave threat to workers’ rights. CWA and USW are intervening to protect them.

“Oracle’s challenge is a broad assault on the authority of the Department of Labor to enforce civil rights laws against federal contractors,” said Democracy Forward counsel Karianne Jones. “The one in five workers who are employed by a federal contractor deserve the full protection of our nation’s civil rights laws. The administration has proven it cannot be depended on to vigorously defend workers’ rights.”

While the government took no position on CWA and USW’s Motion to Intervene, Oracle opposed it, arguing, in part, that the Trump administration is an adequate representative of workers’ interests. The Trump administration’s repeated attempts to weaken or dismantle OFCCP and turn its back on workers suggest otherwise.

If successful, Oracle’s case would diminish the federal government’s capacity to enforce anti-discrimination laws against federal contractors. The impact on workers and their representatives, such as USW and CWA, would be severe. For example:

  • OFCCP’s administrative enforcement authority gives “teeth” to anti-discrimination laws and, in the absence of that authority, OFCCP would be rendered less effective at achieving voluntary compliance
  • Unions like CWA and USW and their members would lose access to the agency as a place to seek redress for workplace discrimination and to remedies like backpay
  • There is no guarantee that either the Department of Justice or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would fill the gap if OFCCP loses its enforcement authority

At best, the federal government’s efforts to enforce civil rights laws against federal contractors would become “a patchwork quilt, in which EEOC can prosecute some types of claims, DOJ others, and any case likely returning to OFCCP at the end of it all for future compliance monitoring.”

In last week’s filing, CWA and USW urged the court “not to allow the fate of the OFCCP to be decided in a contest between a vigorous opponent of the OFCCP and an administration that has tried to undermine OFCCP at every turn” and to instead allow them to provide the agency with the full “defense it deserves.”

In early April, eight states, as well as 12 former senior government officials who led civil rights enforcement efforts at the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor, plus 46 workers’ rights advocates, labor organizations, law firms and several other legal associations involved in defending workers’ rights filed two amicus briefs in this case. In these briefs, the parties urged the federal court to reject efforts by Oracle to strip the Department of Labor of its civil rights enforcement authority.

CWA and USW are represented by Democracy Forward, the National Women’s Law Center, and Massey & Gail.

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Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.

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