| |AGC Witness Calls for Highway Trust Fund Fix
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) invited AGC to participate in a July 10 hearing
to kickoff consideration of legislation to reauthorize the federal highway and transit programs under the FAST Act before it expires September 30, 2020. Sen. Barrasso stated his intention for the committee to take the lead in the reauthorization effort and report out a bill before the congressional summer recess in hopes of avoiding the need for any short-term extensions. AGC’s Highway and Transportation Division Chair Max Kuney of Spokane, Washington, expressed during his testimony the importance of completing a highway bill on time and informed lawmakers of the disruption that can be caused to state highway construction programs and contractors when there is uncertainty about federal funding. Kuney also noted that Congress must provide the revenue necessary to keep the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent and expressed AGC’s support alongside “our many partners in the business community and organized labor” in calling for a motor fuels tax increase.
Includes Funding for Key Federal Construction Accounts
On June 25, the House of Representatives passed — on a partisan vote of 227-194
— the FY 2020 funding bills for the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as military construction agencies. While the bills provide additional resources for federal construction accounts, it is not certain if they will be realized absent a budget agreement on the topline federal funding figures for defense and non-defense spending for FY 2020.
Discussed Trade, Infrastructure, and Future of Industry
On July 7, AGC met with the Canadian Contractors Association (CCA) and the Cámara Mexicana de la Industria de la Construcción (CMIC) in Boston, Massachusetts for the annual North American Construction Federation meeting. This annual meeting has occurred since the 1990s and provides an opportunity for the three nation’s leading construction associations to discuss challenges and opportunities that face the construction industry in North America. Among the topics discussed at this year’s meeting were: international investment and trade agreements; infrastructure investment; innovation and technology; and workforce. AGC believes that open dialogue between representatives with Canada and Mexico are critical to ensure a robust and healthy construction market.
Discusses Need for National Infrastructure Investment with Indiana Congressman
On July 2, AGC of America, in partnership with Indiana Contractors, Inc. and E&B Paving, hosted Representative Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.) for a tour of a highway project in Seymour, Indiana. The tour took place on a $143 million state-funded project that was awarded to E&B Paving by the Indiana Department of Transportation. While touring the jobsite, Rep. Hollingsworth and construction officials talked about the local benefits of federal infrastructure investments and the need for Congress to act on the President’s call for a new infrastructure bill. They also talked about how Washington can help put more local people into high-paying construction careers by boosting funding for career and technical education programs. To view the full press release, click here
For more information or if your company is interested in hosting a member of Congress for a job site tour please contact Jenni Traver at firstname.lastname@example.org
Calls on Agencies for Better Accountability
On July 2, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report, Army Corps of Engineers and GSA Need to Improve Data on Contract Changes
, on how the federal government monitors contract changes. AGC participated in this study and agrees with the report’s findings. In the report, GAO reviewed one military and one civilian agency that procure billions of dollars in construction annually. In evaluating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the General Services Administration (GSA), the report found neither agency regularly tracks how long it takes to process contract changes, which makes it more difficult for them to identify and respond to problems and puts them in a position to not meet the deadline this year to begin reporting. Both agencies agreed with GAO that an effective strategy should be developed, including at the headquarters level.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated the web-based portal
for the reinstated collection of 2017 and 2018 EEO-1 Component 2 data with several resources to assist employers. Specifically, the EEOC provided a series of Frequently Asked Questions
(“FAQs”) regarding the new requirements and a More Info Page
. The More Info page provides additional resources such as a sample form, an instruction booklet, a user’s guide, a fact sheet, and reference documents.
Discourages Legislative Need for One-Size-Fits-All-Standard
On July 11, Kevin Cannon, AGC’s Senior Director of Safety and Health Services, testified
before the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections on the topic of heat exposure in the industry. Cannon testified to AGC’s thorough, proactive work on this subject and informed lawmakers that legislation mandating the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to quickly formulate a one-size-fits-all national standard to address workplace heat exposure is unwarranted. In addition, AGC pointed out how the Obama administration’s OSHA previously denied a petition for such a standard given existing agency authorities to take enforcement action when heat hazards exist on the jobsite. AGC will continue to be proactive in providing outreach and education on this important workplace safety issue.
On June 25, AGC submitted comments
to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(NPRM) revising and clarifying the responsibilities of employers and joint employers to employees in joint employer arrangements. In 2017, the DOL withdrew
the previous administration's sub-regulatory guidance regarding joint employer status that did not go through the rulemaking process that includes public notice and comment. The NPRM’s emphasis on the actual exercise of control as a prerequisite to a joint employer finding encourages cooperation between businesses without exposing them to potential liability under an uncertain standard.
The survey will close by the middle of August
As demand for construction in most parts of the country continues to expand and the number of unemployed construction workers hits record low levels, AGC of America and Autodesk are working to better quantify where these shortages are taking place, how severe they are, and what steps firms are taking to both cope with tight labor markets and improve the supply of new, qualified workers. That is why we are asking members to take a few minutes to complete the workforce survey
that we have prepared. The more people understand the scope, and consequences, of a tight construction labor market, the more likely they are to act on the measures we are promoting to make it easier for school systems, local associations and private firms to establish career and technical education and training programs. The more members who take the survey
, the better able we all will be to describe labor market conditions where you operate.
July 23-25, 2019
Construction Safety, Health and Environmental Conference
July 25, 2019
WebEd: Part 1: Reality Capture Overview for Owners and Their Teams
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
July 30, 2019
WebEd: The Importance of Technology in Jobsite Management
2 to 3 p.m.
July 31, 2019
WebEd: Practical Implementation of Lean on Construction Projects
2 to 3 p.m.
August 7-9, 2019
IT Conference for Construction Professionals
August 8, 2019
WebEd: Working Toward Managing An Asset
2 to 3 p.m.
August 14, 2019
WebEd: Value of Marketing Communications for Contractors
2 to 3 p.m.
Construction employment increased by 21,000 jobs in June and by 224,000, or 3.2 percent, over the past 12 months, while the number of unemployed jobseekers with construction experience fell, according to an analysis of new government data by AGC of America. Association officials noted that firms continue to increase pay as they work to attract new hires from an ever-tighter labor market.