Employers Should Prepare Now to Avoid Federal Enforcement Action
Employers Should Prepare Now to Avoid Federal Enforcement Action
Union representation in the construction industry (covering all occupations) rose very slightly in 2017, from 14.6 percent to 14.7 percent, according to an annual report recently issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Union membership in the industry similarly increased over the year, from 13.9 percent to 14 percent. The total number of workers in the industry rose from 7,488,000 to 7,844,000.
AGC’s 2018 Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference and Federal Construction HR Workshop will be held October 10-12, 2018, in Fort Worth, TX. The conference will offer unique opportunities for HR, training, and workforce development professionals in the construction industry. For training professionals, the conference will offer sessions related to the most cutting-edge techniques currently in the industry and envisioned for the future in training, education and workforce development. For HR professionals, the conference will help attendees stay up to date and compliant with employment laws and best practices. Some sessions will be of interest to both HR and training professionals alike.
Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations completed during 2017 resulted in an average first-year increase in wages and benefits of $1.34 per hour or 2.7 percent, according to the annual year-end Settlements Report issued by the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council. This sustains an upward trend that began in 2011. For newly negotiated multi-year contracts, the average second-year increase negotiated was $1.53 or 2.9 percent.
On January 31, 2018, AGC attended an intimate stakeholder meeting and roundtable with Ondray T. Harris, the recently appointed Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the U.S Department of Labor. AGC took the opportunity to discuss the unique challenges construction contractors face interacting with the OFCCP and complying with its requirements. AGC strongly advocated the need for clarity, communication, and understanding of the industry it regulates from the OFCCP. Director Harris spent much of his time introducing himself and his vision for the OFCCP before settling in for a very interactive and receptive conversation. It remains to be seen the true direction of the OFCCP in the coming months to years, but Director Harris and his staff appear to be interested in working more in partnership with industry to ensure the continued investment in diversity initiatives, the development of American workers, and ultimately the country’s workforce. In line with the Trump administration’s focus on apprenticeships, the Director and staff also discussed how apprenticeship programs can assist in diversity efforts and Affirmative Action requirements for contractors.
On January 24, 2018, the EEOC announced it had completed its mailing of the 2017 EEO-1 survey Notification Letters and all employers that qualify must file EEO-1 Reports by March 31, 2018. You may remember that the EEOC recently revised the EEO-1 report, but following advice from AGC the Trump administration reversed the changes and no pay data is required to be reported. The current EEO-1 report is simply the “old” format that employers used to file the last round of reports in September 2016.
AGC this week urged President Trump to rescind President Obama’s project labor agreement (PLA) executive order and replace it with a new order. AGC asked President Trump to issue a new order that ensures fair and open competition on federal construction contracts by preventing agencies from mandating contractors to sign a PLA as a condition of winning a federal or federally assisted construction contract and from implementing a preference policy for bids with a PLA. The Obama-era order encourages federal agencies to mandate PLAs on projects valued at $25 million or more. Until President Trump acts, that executive order remains in effect.
On January 4, 2018, following Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13813, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its plan to expand access to healthcare through small business health plans. EO 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” directed the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury to develop rules to expand association health plans (AHPs), short-term limited duration insurance, and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).
On January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reissued 17 previously withdrawn opinion letters addressing a wide range of topics under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 15 of the 17 letters were originally signed off on during the final days of the Bush administration, but were withdrawn by the Obama administration “for further consideration by the Wage and Hour Division” on March 2, 2009, and stated that it would “provide a further response in the near future,” but never did. Instead, the Obama administration stopped issuing these letters altogether, instead releasing broader “Administrator’s Interpretations” that laid out how the department viewed employers’ specific obligations under the law. In June 2017, Secretary Acosta announced that he would reinstate the practice of issuing opinion letters.
AGC of America’s 99th Annual AGC Convention in New Orleans, LA, will feature a session called “State of the (Building Trade) Unions” where the Brent Booker, secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trade Unions, will speak. The session is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26, 3:00-4:30 p.m. All Convention registrants are invited to attend. While organized labor represents a minority of workers in construction, its actions have a significant impact on the industry and on the nation in general, making this session of interest to both union and nonunion contractors and chapters alike.
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.
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