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Tulalip TERO was created to enforce and ensure workforce protection, preferential employment and contracting rights for Native Americans. As well as assist and refer clients for education, training and services to succeed and enhance their careers and economic opportunities.

Tulalip TERO requires Owner/Contracting Agency and businesses to:

  • Fill out and negotiate a compliance plan prior to commencing any construction work
  • Give Native American owned businesses the opportunity to bid
  • Hire qualified TERO workers
  • Pay 1.75% TERO fee on all construction projects over $10,000

TERO enforces the Tulalip code, and has developed the following workforce protections:

  • Require employers to provide Native Americans preference in recruiting, hiring, training, and promotions.
  • Ensure that employers comply with the TERO Code.
  • Impose fines and other sanctions on employers who fail to comply with TERO code.
  • An appeal process through the Tulalip TERO Commission and the Tulalip Tribal Court to ensure due process.

Legal Authority

Native American preference rights comes from two major sources.

  1. Tribal Inherent Sovereign Power - As sovereigns, tribal and native governments have the legal authority to control the employment practices of all employers operating within the boundaries of their reservations or on Tribal projects off the reservation by enacting and enforcing the strongest Native American employment/contracting preference laws in the nation. Tribal governments can use sovereignty to require the maximum employment of Native Americans by all reservation employers.
  2. Federal Statutes and Contract Law - The United States Congress has adopted laws that give Native Americans the right to claim a fair share of jobs and business opportunities on their reservations. In addition, there are several Federal laws that impose mandatory Native American preference in all aspects of employment and contracting on federally funded contracts or grants that were awarded for the benefit of Native Americans. Federal law also permits employers operating their business on or near reservations to voluntarily adopt Native American preference hiring policies.

TERO supports the most basic principle of Indian law that has been upheld by a host of Supreme Court decisions.

Tulalip has a government-to-government relationship with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Rights Commission (EEOC) where TERO has the jurisdiction to process any EEOC discrimination complaints within the boundaries of the reservation and on Tribal projects off the reservation.