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We are furious...what's with this type of decision = GSA schedule holders vs. 8(a) status businesses for the 'lower-class' type of service businesses?

My husband spent about a year getting approval for and establishing a GSA schedule for his carpet & upholstery business under the new services Schedule (NAICS codes: 561740, 236220, and 236118), and under SIC codes (7217, 1542, 1522, and 1521), including spending thousands of dollars of him time and money to obtain the GSA schedule. In addition, he's a veteran, has a service related injury (but not certification as a service disabled veteran). 

Recently we received a solicitation for bids for carpet cleaning for ALL the military bases in the Hampton Roads area. It said "8(a) inclusive" on the bid, but when we read the posted solicitation it noted 100% exclusive set-aside for 8(a). 

Why is it that janitorial and/or cleaning services are being used to fulfill ALL the military's quota requirements for 8(a) set-asides instead of the federal government focusing more on the higher echelon services and industry such as IT services, logistics, etc. Why does the military try to fulfill all their quotas within the 8(a) mandate by 100% set-asides? 

Because of this, my 'white male' husband is being discriminated against because - he is white and male - by the 8(a) program. He is thinking about to get a lawyer to file suit for being discriminated against himself and suing the government for favoring 100% set-sides for AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY within a geographic area. 

It seems to me that 8(a) set-asides should match the demographics of the immediate geographic area to prevent the reverse-discrimination that is occurring here.  IF there is 25% blacks, and 15% asian, and 5% hispanic - then those ratios should be set-asides for 8(a) businesses for that industry within a geographic area.  If there are not enough to fulfill the quota, then further avenues can be pursued.

Don't get me wrong - I firmly believe 8(a)'s have their purpose, but not to disallow those who through their own hard work and efforts are kicked out because they are not black, asian, hispanic, or another minority class. This even prevents disabled veterans from applying unless they have the minority status as the primary! 

Does this suck or is there something going on (politically?) behind the scenes we need to be aware of or that we can do to pursue this contract?

Tags: 8(a), 8a, Aside, GSA, Schedule, Set, Veteran, asian, black, discrimination, More…white

Views: 1011

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Dawn - from my understanding, the 8(a) set aside status is not just related to minority-owned businesses. They could be women-owned or disabled-veteran owned...and the program is ultimately about helping small businesses - regardless of these other designations - to get their fair share of contracts when going up against the "big guys." I'd be very surprised if a solicitation stated 100% set aside for "Minority-Owned Small Business" only. Here's a link to some contacts to get more information:
According to the SBA, the three main criteria for 8(a) status are:

1) small business,
2) unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and citizens of the United States, and
3) demonstrate potential for success

I believe that women and service-disabled veterans are in separate "classes" and are not included in the SBA's definition of "socially and economically disadvantaged".
Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as members of a group. Social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, individuals who are members of the following designated groups are presumed to be socially disadvantaged:

# Black Americans
# Hispanic Americans
# Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians)
# Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa, Guam, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands [Republic of Palau], Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Laos, Cambodia [Kampuchea], Taiwan; Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao, Hong Kong, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru; Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal), and
# Members of other groups designated by the SBA.


Although your point is well taken, a better understanding of what has happened to the GSA Schedules might be in order. Actually, a small business owned by a woman and/or a disabled veteran qualify as a 'disadvantaged' in accordance with P.L. 95-507. You would want to rejoice now that 'set-asides' are possible on the Schedules.  With the certifications you either possess or are eligible for, you will have a much better chance at beating large businesses on GSA contract competition. Let me suggest you review the information on this link,  to help you understand the benefits associated with 'set-asides on the Schedules.'  Currently the set-asides are 'discretionary,' although if FPA has its way, set-asides will become 'mandatory' for all contracts between $3.000 and $150,000.    I wrote an OP-ED which describes how the Schedules had been monopolized and controlled in the past, 

In the particular solicitation you described, you have several options which you can pursue to position yourself as a potential bidder.  If you want to discuss them, consider contacting me or one of my associates at FPA to discuss those options.

Merry Christmas and thank you for the opportunity to make a difference,

Raul Espinosa

Founder, Fairness in Procurement Alliance (FPA)

Managing Partner, The Umbrella Initiative


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