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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Labor & HR

July 14, 2011
Collective bargaining settlements reported to the Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC) between January and June of this year resulted in an average first-year wage-and-benefits increase of $0.98 or 1.9 percent.  This average is up moderately from the $0.55 or 1.1 percent average reported at the same time last year but still significantly lower than the $1.49 or 3.1 percent average reported two years ago.  As reported in CLRC’s latest Wage and Benefit Settlements Report, nine percent of year-to-date settlements included no increase at all in first-year wages and benefits, as compared to nearly a quarter of settlements at this time last year.
July 14, 2011
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB or Board) at a June 29 meeting held further redeliberations of its proposal to update accounting standards related to disclosure of an employer’s participation in a multi-employer benefit plan.  The discussions are largely continuing in a direction favorable to AGC and to the Construction Industry FASB Coalition (CIFC), of which AGC is a member.  The original proposal – which was over broad and potentially very damaging to AGC members that contribute to multi-employer plans – has now been significantly pared back to a compromise that should achieve FASB's goal of greater transparency but without the severe consequences for construction firms.
July 8, 2011
In recent weeks, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued 1,000 Notices of Inspection (NOI) beginning its second round of immigration audits this year. 
July 7, 2011
AGC recently met with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) acting administrator, Nancy Leppink, who is responsible for enforcing such laws as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA), and other laws that govern how wages are paid to workers.  During the meeting, AGC explained that its members want to be in compliance with the law and asked Ms. Leppink for additional guidance and in-depth training for the often complicated and confusing wage laws, including the DBA.  As a result, the agency informed AGC, in a follow-up letter, of a new resource to assist contractors:  a video of WHD’s Prevailing Wage Conference.
July 5, 2011
On April 26, 2011, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposed significant revisions of the regulations governing affirmative action requirements for direct federal contractors and subcontractors with respect to protected veterans.  AGC requested an extension of the 60-day comment period.  While OFCCP did not fully grant AGC’s request, OFCCP did grant a 14-day extension.
June 27, 2011
It's no secret that enforcement has increased and many companies have faced recent audits, resulting in fines and penalties for the first time, but for most, debarment has only been a mere threat for non-compliance until now.  Previously, Department of Labor (DOL) officials explained that debarment would be more widely sought as punishment for federal contractors who fail to comply with the law because in their opinion, contractors do not take fines seriously and consider fines as only a cost of doing business.
June 18, 2011
On Tuesday, June 14, the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing to review the state of private pension plans and the challenges facing plan sponsors, workers and retirees.   The challenges facing both single and multiemployer pension programs was not directly discussed in the hearing, however, this action indicates that Congress does realize that there are still challenges facing this retirement vehicle. 
June 6, 2011
On June 3, AGC’s general counsel testified in Congress in support of H.R. 735, the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act.
June 2, 2011
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) appears to be heading in the right direction in its reconsideration of its proposal to update accounting standards concerning disclosure of an employer’s participation in a multiemployer plan.  
May 22, 2011
Attention remains focused on the complaint by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with regard to Boeing’s South Carolina Dreamliner plant. The complaint claims that Boeing violated federal labor law by building this plant in retaliation against past strikes by the unions.  Boeing disputes this claim.


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