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Lawmakers tighten Erie County apprenticeship rules

The Erie County Legislature on Thursday voted 6-5, on party lines, to approve a measure requiring contractors on county-supported construction projects to offer apprenticeship programs with a graduation rate of at least 30 percent.

The measure, endorsed by unions and the Legislature's six Democrats, is meant to close a loophole that lets some contractors on county projects get work without adequately training new apprentices, said Legislator Patrick Burke, D-Buffalo, one of the law's three sponsors.

Members of the Republican-supported minority attempted to amend the law to provide more flexibility to nonunion contractors who have greater difficulty meeting the apprenticeship requirements. But that effort failed.

The new law would apply to county projects of $250,000 or more.

Plan to tighten county apprenticeship rules draws concern

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