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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Building

April 13, 2018

A draft U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) directive would encourage the agency to concurrently process two related permitting reviews when a project needs them—Section 408 permissions under the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 dredge and fill permits—a priority among a number of AGC’s environmental review and permitting reform recommendations. RHA Section 408 requires USACE to evaluate and grant permission for any construction projects that alter existing USACE infrastructure—e.g., bridge/road construction project over, or by, a USACE-built levee, port construction on, or in, a USACE-dredged harbor. Where a construction project needs both a Section 408 permission and Section 404 permit, USACE does not currently begin the Section 404 permitting review process until it completes the Section 408 permission process, which further delays construction projects.

April 13, 2018

In Line with AGC Environmental Review Streamlining Recommendations

April 12, 2018

On April 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued 3 new opinion letters addressing compliance under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other laws.  The DOL issued the letters as part of its commitment to protect employees, enforce the law, and ensure employers have the tools for compliance.

April 12, 2018

On April 11, the Senate confirmed John F. Ring’s appointment to the National Labor Relations Board for a term expiring on December 16, 2022.  Once Ring is sworn in, the Board will return to a full complement of five members, with a three-to-two Republican majority.  Ring is currently a partner at the law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Washington, DC, where he co-leads the firm’s Labor-Management Relations Practice representing employers in a variety of labor and employment matters.  He has been with the firm his entire legal career, starting in 1988.

April 12, 2018

International Union of Operating Engineers Pres. Jim Callahan has invited AGC members and staff to tour the union’s brand new International Training & Conference Center in Crosby, TX, on June 5.  AGC is in the process of arranging hotel accommodations at a hotel at Bush Intercontinental Airport in nearby Houston for June 4 and will host a breakfast on June 5.  Transportation to the Center will also be provided.  The tour will begin around 10:00 a.m., followed by lunch hosted by the Operating Engineers.

April 10, 2018

Construction costs climbed again in March, with increases for a wide range of building materials, including many that are subject to proposed tariffs that could drive prices still higher and cause scarcities, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released today. Association officials warned that tariffs on some items might lead to project delays and cancellations if supplies become unobtainable or too expensive for current budgets.

April 6, 2018

Construction employment increased by 228,000 jobs over the past year despite a weather-related dip last month, and the industry’s unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, the lowest yet for March, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials called for revitalizing and adequately funding career and technical education and training programs to ensure that employment in the high-paying industry would continue to grow.

April 6, 2018

On March 30, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark for 2018. Effective March 31, 2018, the hiring benchmark will be 6.4 percent, down from 6.7 percent in 2017.  This benchmark is an annual goal for the percentage of hires who are veterans at each affirmative action plan (AAP) establishment.

April 6, 2018

On April 3, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) began officially accepting applications for the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program and provided supplemental information about participation on the program’s website.  The PAID program website includes information for an employer to determine the criteria for participating in the program, a brief description of compliance assistance materials, and the required elements of a self-audit.  The site also includes details on how the program works and the process for the payment of wages. WHD will conduct a public webinar on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 1:00 pm Eastern time to provide an overview of the PAID program.

April 5, 2018

The use of the “Segal Blend” interest assumption to calculate a withdrawing company’s multiemployer pension liability was a “mistake” and unsupported by the record, according to the decision in The New York Times Co. v. Newspapers & Mail Deliverers’-Publishers’ Pension Fund, No. 1:17-cv-06178-RWS (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2018).  This decision may have broad consequences for multiemployer pension plans and contributing employers, because the Segal Blend method is used by many of the largest multiemployer plans in the United States.  It will most likely be appealed to the Second Circuit federal court of appeals.

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