On Feb. 5, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced President Trump’s nomination of Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—a move which AGC supported in a letter to the committee. The 11-10 committee vote fell along party lines. Acting Administrator Wheeler’s nomination now moves to the full Senate for confirmation.
On Feb. 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its 2019 penalty rule that increased the maximum civil penalties per violation of an environmental statute or agency regulation. These annual adjustments are required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015. Below are the new 2019 penalty maximum levels to account for inflations.
Over the decades, determining where federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction lies has added regulatory uncertainty, delay, and cost to construction projects throughout the nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule will help construction projects move forward in a timelier manner, clearly limit federal jurisdiction over water and wetlands, and continue to protect our nation’s clean water. Please contact the EPA today to let them know that you support clear federal clean water permitting guidelines.
The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, released the following statement in reaction to President Trump’s State of the Union call for new infrastructure investments:
Union representation in the construction industry (covering all occupations) declined in 2018, from 14.7 percent to 13.8 percent, according to an annual report recently issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Union membership in the industry also declined, from 14 percent to only 12.8 percent, but remains considerably higher than the 6.4 percent all-industry average in the private sector. Construction union representation and membership increased slightly in both 2017 and 2016. The total number of workers in construction rose in each year. In 2018, the number rose from 7,844,000 to 8,169,000.
Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations completed during 2018 resulted in an average first-year increase in wages and fringe benefits of $1.70 per hour or 3.0 percent, according to the annual year-end Settlements Report issued by the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC). This reflects a continuing slow but steady upward trend since 2011, when the average was only $0.73 or 1.7 percent. Still, CLRC notes, the 2018 average remained below increases negotiated during the 2006–2008 timeframe, which were over 4.0 percent per year. For multi-year agreements negotiated in 2018, the average second-year increase was $1.68 or 2.8 percent, and the average third-year increase was $1.65 or 2.7 percent.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters.