June 8-10 in Washington, D.C.
We are still more than 11 weeks away from the 2020 AGC Federal Contractors Conference
taking place on June 8-10 in Washington, D.C.; therefore, we wanted to provide registrants an update based on the current situation and potential ramifications. As of today, the conference has not been cancelled or rescheduled. However, we are continuing to monitor the situation before making any decisions to reschedule or cancel.
Tell President Trump and Congress to treat the construction industry and the work it performs as vital and essential to the critical industries that must remain in operation to respond to this pandemic and crises to come. To ensure this is the case, the federal government must issue guidance classifying construction as a critical infrastructure industry whose workers are essential. On March 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidance listing 16 critical infrastructure industries whose workforces should maintain their normal work schedules. Though construction was not explicitly listed, it is crucial to the operation of all 16 industries.
Equitable adjustments due to facility restriction
On March 18, AGC, along with other coalition partners, urged
Congress to support compensation for federal contractors during the COVID-19 outbreak. Legislative language was included in the letter to authorize contract equitable adjustments in cases where federal facility access limitations or denials bar contractors from performing their duties as required.
AGC advocates for different approach to address issue
On March 18, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, into law in response to the recent Coronavirus outbreak. This measure, while taking many level-headed actions to mitigate risks to our communities, included a new employer-fronted paid leave mandate that AGC strongly advocated
against. AGC recommended to Congress that the federal government — not construction employers — is best equipped to administer and front compensation for COVID-19-related illness leave. These requirements take effect on April 2, 2020, and sunset on December 31, 2020. However, the legislative environment remains fluid. The Senate could consider altering these mandates in a COVID-19 economic investment bill, a third COVID-19 related measure.
What companies can do to help
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, along with senior Department of Defense officials, gave a press briefing
on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers efforts to support New York and other areas affected by COVID-19. On March 21, Jill Stiiglich, Director of Contracting, released a memorandum for prospective USACE Contractors
. AGC of America will post guidance it has received from USACE and other federal contracting agencies here
. Additional AGC of America information related to COVID-19 is available by clicking here
Reporting required in limited circumstance where there is evidence employee contracted the virus at place of work
On March 10, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided guidance requiring the recording and reporting of workplace exposures to COVID-19. The guidance, while well intended, did not consider all of the potential negative impacts on the regulated community. On March 12, AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr spoke one-on-one with U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia on this issue noting AGC’s deep concerns with and opposition to such broad guidance. Shortly after that call, on March 13, OSHA issued new guidance
that limits when COVID-19 can be a recordable illness to medically confirmed cases of COVID-19 that fall within a narrowed field of incidents that employers could then presume occurred on the jobsite.
AGC, along with its industry partners on the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), in a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on March 23, urged the agency to re-evaluate its decision regarding COVID-19 recordability and provide some flexibility in enforcement with respect to respirator use. Specifically, the CISC advised OSHA to consider the following alternatives to the current COVID-19 recordability requirements:
Beginning Monday, March 23, AGC of America will host an 8-part webinar series on the “Factors that Construction Companies Need to Consider, as They Strive for Business Continuity.” Click here
for more details and registration. If you missed the March 20 WebED — AGC COVID-19 — The Latest Developments and Its Impact on the Construction Industry, you can watch it by clicking here
Construction firms are already taking steps to protect employees, most of whom already wear protective equipment, while halting work will undermine efforts to add hospital capacity
The chief executive officer of AGC of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to steps being taken to put in place arbitrary halts to construction activity in certain parts of the country:
AGC’s incoming president intends to engage the membership today for progress tomorrow
Life is a highway, as that Tom Cochrane song goes. And as work continues in Washington over transportation reauthorization and AGC looks to merge new talent into its convoy of collaborators, incoming president Bob Lanham intends to "ride it all year long" to the benefit of the association. Meet Lanham in our March/April cover story