Navajo preference laws put tribal members to work
With unemployment rates high on the Navajo Nation, the tribe is making sure that tribal members are put to work at construction projects across the reservation.

The Navajo Preference in Employment Act became law in the 1970s. But employment of Navajos in the construction field still hovered around 43 to 46 percent in the mid-1990s, The Gallup Independent reported.

Strict enforcement of the law has changed the picture. The Office of Navajo Labor Relations says 96 to 98 percent of construction workers are Navajo.

"It had been in the laws, but we didn't really start it enforcing it until the 1990s," Reynold Lee, the director of the office, told the paper.

The office visits construction sites to check on the number of tribal workers. Companies are given a week to hire more Navajos if there aren't enough.

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Labor law hits 98% (The Gallup Independent 6/4)