AGC's Human Resource and Labor News - July 14, 2011 / Issue No. 4-11 (Print All Articles)

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AGC Testifies on Bill Requiring Level Field for Union and Open Shop Contractors in Federal Procurement

On June 3, AGC’s general counsel testified in Congress in support of H.R. 735, the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act.

On June 3, AGC’s general counsel testified in Congress in support of H.R. 735, the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act.

The legislation provides that federal contracting agencies may neither require nor prohibit project labor agreements (PLAs).  It also forbids these agencies to discriminate against any contractor, or to give any preference to any contractor, because the contractor has either signed or refused to sign a PLA.  The bill largely mirrors the text of Pres. George W. Bush’s executive order prohibiting agencies from mandating PLAs and would nullify Pres. Obama’s executive order encouraging agency consideration of PLAs.

Appearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, intergovernmental Relations and Procurement, Michael Kennedy emphasized that “construction contractors are in the best position to determine whether, and if so, when a project labor agreement will help them meet the government’s legitimate interest in having its projects constructed on time, within budget and according to all specifications.”  For that reason, he continued, AGC supports legislation that would have the net effect of requiring federal contracting agencies to score all bids and proposals in one and the same way, without regard to whether they include or omit a PLA.

Turning to President Obama’s executive order on the subject, which gives federal contracting agencies the option of mandating PLAs, Kennedy pointed out that such mandates have the effect of limiting competition for federal work.  He explained that PLAs typically require open shop contractors to change the way that they would otherwise approach an upcoming project, and may even require union contractors to change their approach.

Kennedy also recommended a technical amendment to the bill to ensure that union contractors would not be inadvertently disadvantaged by language providing that exemptions to PLA restrictions may not be based on a labor dispute concerning open shop contractors.

To access hearing documents and video, click here.

For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org.


AGC Union Contractors to Meet with Basic Trades Leaders on Oct. 17; Registration Now Open

The Union Contractors Committee will hold two events for union contractors and their chapters on October 17, 2011, in Washington, DC:  an AGC-Basic Trades Forum and a Union Contractors Committee Meeting.  Chapter executives, chapter staff, and member leaders involved in collective bargaining or other labor relations matters for AGC union contractors are invited and encouraged to attend both meetings.

The Union Contractors Committee will hold two events for union contractors and their chapters on October 17, 2011, in Washington, DC:  an AGC-Basic Trades Forum and a Union Contractors Committee Meeting.  Chapter executives, chapter staff, and member leaders involved in collective bargaining or other labor relations matters for AGC union contractors are invited and encouraged to attend both meetings.

The AGC-Basic Trades Forum will be held in the morning, following an AGC-only breakfast and briefing for early arrivals.  All basic trade general presidents will be invited along with leaders of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO.  Like the AGC-Basic Trades Forum held in October 2007, the event will be an opportunity for union contractors to explain to the union leaders about the challenges they are currently facing and to discuss with the union leaders other matters of mutual interest.  The format will include brief introductory remarks followed by a moderated question-and-answer period, based on questions collected by union contractors in advance.  If time allows, questions will also be taken directly from the floor.

The Union Contractors Committee Meeting will take place in the afternoon, beginning with lunch.  The meeting will include a discussion of the AGC-Basic Trades Forum, a discussion of the results of an AGC collective bargaining chapter survey that will be conducted later this month, and a strategic planning session building on the survey results to discuss how AGC and the committee can best serve AGC’s union contractors today. 

The tentative schedule of events is as follows:

8:00 – 9:15 a.m.         Early Arrivals Breakfast & Briefing (AGC only)
9:15 – 9:30                  Break
9:30 – 11:30                AGC-Basic Trades Forum (with labor)
11:30 – 12:00 pm       Break
12:00 – 1:00                 Lunch & Debrief of Forum (AGC only)
1:00 – 3:00 pm             Union Contractors Committee Strategic Planning Session (AGC only)

All events will take place at The Madison hotel, located in downtown Washington at 1177 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.  A small block of rooms has been saved for meeting attendees.  To reserve a room at the pre-tax group rate of $179 per night, call the hotel at (800) 424-8577 by September 27 and tell the reservations clerk that you are attending the Associated General Contractors of America event.  To reserve a room online, click here.  The hotel may require a deposit which is refundable if the reservation is cancelled at least 24 hours prior to scheduled arrival.

Meeting registration is available by fax or online.  Click here to register online.  Click here to download a form for registration by fax, which allows for easy registration of multiple attendees.  Please register by September 27. 

There is no registration fee for these events.

If you have registration questions, call Crystal at (703) 837-5437.  If you have other questions, contact Denise Gold at (703) 837-5326 or goldd@agc.org.


DOL and NLRB Propose Changes That Could Facilitate Union Organizing

In proposed rules issued within one day of each other, two federal labor agencies have taken significant steps toward making union organizing easier.  While the proposed rules, if implemented, would likely have less of an effect in the construction industry – where “bottom-up” union organizing is less common – than in other industries, they still raise serious concerns about employer and employee rights for AGC members.

In proposed rules issued within one day of each other, two federal labor agencies have taken significant steps toward making union organizing easier.  While the proposed rules, if implemented, would likely have less of an effect in the construction industry – where “bottom-up” union organizing is less common – than in other industries, they still raise serious concerns about employer and employee rights for AGC members. 

On June 21, the Office of Labor-Management Standards of the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule to alter its interpretation of the “advice” exemption to reporting requirements under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) that apply to labor relations consultants (including attorneys and others) who engage in activities to persuade employees concerning their rights to organize or bargain collectively.  The LMRDA requires the disclosure of certain details of an agreement or arrangement between an employer and a consultant for such “persuader” activity.  No reporting is required, however, if the consultant is merely providing “advice.”  The proposed rule would narrow the scope of what is considered “advice,” thereby expanding the breadth of the disclosure requirement.  As a consequence, employers could become less able to obtain valuable guidance about their rights and responsibilities during a union organizing drive and assistance in preparing for communications with employees about their own rights and responsibilities.

On June 22, the National Labor Relations Board issued a proposed rule seeking about a dozen modifications to procedures governing union representation elections, effectively compressing the time frame between a union’s filing of a representation petition and a representation election.  Currently, representation elections typically occur 45-60 days after a petition is filed.  Although the proposed rule does not establish a specific deadline for an election to take place, it is expected to shorten that time frame to 10-21 days.  This would be accomplished by shortening deadlines for hearings and required filings, deferring hearings over voter eligibility disputes until after the election, deferring an appeal of an adverse pre-hearing decision until after an election, among other changes.  The proposed rule also expands the type of employee information that employers must provide to unions before an election to include employee phone numbers, e-mail addresses,  work locations, shifts, and classifications.  The changes would provide unions with greater opportunity to communicate their views about union representation to workers while reducing employers’ opportunity to communicate their views.

AGC plans to submit comments opposing each of the regulatory proposals during the public comment period.  The comment period for both rules ends August 22.


Union Density Among Craft Workers Drops Modestly While Employment Drops Dramatically

While the percent of construction craft workers represented by a union declined modestly between 2008 and 2010, the number of such workers declined substantially, according to the Construction Labor Research Council’s (CLRC) latest Union/Non-Union Trends report.  CLRC reports that unions represented 18 percent of craft workers in 2010, a decline of just two percent from 2008.  The total number of union-represented craft workers declined by 31 percent – or 342,000 workers – during the two-year period.

While the percent of construction craft workers represented by a union declined modestly between 2008 and 2010, the number of such workers declined substantially, according to the Construction Labor Research Council’s (CLRC) latest Union/Non-Union Trends report.  CLRC reports that unions represented 18 percent of craft workers in 2010, a decline of just two percent from 2008.  The total number of union-represented craft workers declined by 31 percent – or 342,000 workers – during the two-year period.

“Not only did union employment decline,” states CLRC, “it declined at a faster rate than the total employment for every region except the Middle Atlantic.”  CLRC’s Middle Atlantic region covers District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. 

CLRC observes that these figures reflect the recession that began in 2008 and the ensuing downturn in the construction industry.  When CLRC issued its last biennial report on union density in 2008, it found that the rate of unionization had increased in all regions over the prior two years, that the number of union workers had increased in all regions, and that total construction employment declined in all but one region.

“Both union and non-union craft workforces in construction have sustained substantial losses, with the union sector bearing the largest brunt of this decline,” CLRC concludes in its current report.

CLRC derived its data in the report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  While the data series presents a consistent means of measuring trends in unionization in the construction industry, the data do not measure the amount of construction performed union or non-union.  Likewise, they do not distinguish between residential and commercial construction, with the latter having a greater level of union representation.

According to BLS, unions represented 13.7 percent of the total construction workforce (beyond craft workers) in 2010.  For more BLS data on union affiliation of workers by occupation and industry, click here.


Year-to-Date Collective Bargaining Yields Average 1st-Year Wage and Benefits Increase of 1.9%

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.

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.

About 45 percent of settlements reported so far this year were for only a one-year duration.  Among those for multi-year terms, the most common duration is three years, with an average second-year increase of $1.36 or 2.5 percent, and an average third-year increase of $1.58 or 2.7 percent.  This compares to an average second-year increase  $0.69 or 1.6 percent, and an average third-year increase is $1.01 or 2.2 percent reported during the same period last year. 

The report covers 75 settlements, including 48 from the East North Central Region, which covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.   “Variation among the regions has been modest so far this year,” states CLRC, “ranging [from] a low of 1.7 percent to a high of 3.2 percent.”

The complete report - which provides an early indication of 2011 bargaining results and will be followed by further reports later this year -- is posted along with other CLRC reports on the Labor & HR Topical Resources page of AGC's website at www.agc.org/labor/topicalresources.  Select "Collective Bargaining" from the first pull-down menu and "Collective Bargaining Agreement Data" from the second for links to the reports.  For a searchable database of collectively bargained wage and fringe benefit rates, go to www.agc.org/cbrates

Collective bargaining AGC Chapters are reminded to kindly send all settlements information to CLRC promptly upon completion.  Information may be submitted by e-mail at clrc@clrc.biz, by fax to (202) 347-8442, or by mail to 1750 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC  20006.


FASB Continues to Head in Right Direction on Multi-employer Plan Disclosure Standards

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 overbroad 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.

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 overbroad 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.

While one more meeting of deliberations is expected and changes could be introduced prior to a final decision, the Board on June 29 made the following tentative decisions regarding employers that contribute to multi-employer plans:

1.  An employer would be required to disclose:

a.  A description of the nature and effect of any changes affecting comparability from period to period for each period for which a statement of income is presented, including a business combination or a divestiture, the rate of employer contributions, and the number of employees subject to multi-employer pension plans; and
b.  Information about plan assets and liabilities and total contributions to the multi-employer plan from all employers in circumstances in which the information is not available in the public domain.

2.  An employer would not be required to disclose any of the following:

a. Known trends in future contributions;
b. Estimated amounts of future contributions; or
c. The percentage of its employees covered by multi-employer plans.

3.   A subsidiary that participates in its parent entity’s single-employer defined benefit pension plan would be required to disclose the name of the parent plan and the amount of contributions made in each period for which an income statement is presented.

4.   The required disclosures would only apply to pension plans. For multi-employer health and welfare plans, certain aspects of the existing disclosure requirements will be clarified.  In addition, the Board may address other aspects of the disclosure requirements related to multi-employer health and welfare plans as part of a future project.

The Board also directed its staff to conduct outreach efforts with respect to the auditability of the following:

1.   The percentage of the employer’s total contributions to a multi-employer plan; and

2.   The disclosure of information about plan assets and liabilities and total contributions to a multi-employer plan in circumstances in which the information is not available outside of the financial statements.

The results of that outreach will be discussed at a future meeting.

FASB, at a May 31 meeting, had already tentatively adopted the bulk of a CIFC-proposed compromise disclosure standard. Most notably, based on guidance provided by CIFC, FASB removed a requirement in its original proposal for the routine disclosure of estimated withdrawal liability.  The requirement appears to remain removed from consideration after the June 29 meeting.

AGC and CIFC will continue to monitor developments and to work with FASB to help achieve an acceptable outcome.

Click here to access a video archive of the June 29 FASB meeting.  Click here to access a copy of the meeting handout.


AGC Submits Comments Opposing OFCCPs Proposed Regulations Regarding Veterans

On July 11, 2011, AGC submitted comments on the April 26, 2011, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) notice of proposed rulemaking, which would implement significant revisions of the regulations governing affirmative action requirements for direct federal contractors and subcontractors with respect to protected veterans.  AGC fully supports OFCCP’s stated overall goal of increasing employment opportunities for covered veterans; however, AGC does not support the burdensome requirements of this proposed rule, nor does AGC believe more covered veterans will be hired as a result of the proposed requirements.

On July 11, 2011, AGC submitted comments on the April 26, 2011, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) notice of proposed rulemaking, which would implement significant revisions of the regulations governing affirmative action requirements for direct federal contractors and subcontractors with respect to protected veterans.  AGC fully supports OFCCP’s stated overall goal of increasing employment opportunities for covered veterans; however, AGC does not support the burdensome requirements of this proposed rule, nor does AGC believe more covered veterans will be hired as a result of the proposed requirements.

The proposed rule would impact all stages of direct federal contracting and subcontracting for employers.  Specifically, the proposed rule would require covered employers to:

  • calculate and establish numerical hiring benchmarks using data contractors would have to research for the calculation;
  • extend an offer to self-identify as a protected veteran pre-hire in addition to the current post-hire requirements;
  • track and maintain several new data points on veteran referrals, applicants, and hires, and maintain the data for five years;
  • sign written linkage agreements with a minimum of three veteran sources, per establishment and perform a self-critical analysis of the effectives of each;
  • list vacant positions with employment services in the manner and format they require;
  • create a file for every known veteran applicant and employee, to include every opportunity for which the veteran was considered (vacancy, training and promotion), and a statement outlining the reason for rejection if the veteran was not selected;
  • conduct annual meeting and training programs for all employees and management; and
  • perform and document annual reviews of job descriptions listing the physical and mental job qualifications for all job openings and provide an explanation regarding why each requirement is related to the job.

To read more about the proposed rule, click here.

Originally, OFCCP issued a comment deadline of July 27.  Given the importance of the proposal and feedback received from an AGC hosted conference call with its HR Forum Federal Subforum to discuss the implications of the proposed rule, AGC submitted a letter to OFCCP requesting an additional 60 days to more thoroughly review and comment on the newly proposed requirements.  While OFCCP did not fully grant AGC’s request, OFCCP did grant a 14-day extension.

AGC’s comments ask OFCCP to exempt the construction industry from the requirements of the proposed rule, or at minimum, simplify the requirements for compliance.  Several companies submitted comments through AGC’s Legislative Action Center stating the same.  AGC has also partnered with other employer organizations such as the Equal Employment Advisory Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Center for Corporate Equality and the HR Policy Association to send a joint letter of opposition to the proposed rule.

For additional information, contact Tamika C. Carter, PHR at cartert@agc.org or 703-837-5382.


Parent Company and Subsidiary Considered Single Entity Federal Contractor for OFCCP Purposes

On June 14, 2011, a U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled that two affiliated companies operated as a “single entity” federal contractor, even though neither company met federal contractor status requirements independently.  This was the outcome of a case involving the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Manheim Auctions, Inc., along with its subsidiary, Manheim Auctions Government Services.  As a result, the companies were jointly and individually liable for meeting the requirements set forth in the laws regulated by OFCCP, including Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act.

On June 14, 2011, a U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled that two affiliated companies operated as a “single entity” federal contractor, even though neither company met federal contractor status requirements independently.  This was the outcome of a case involving the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Manheim Auctions, Inc., along with its subsidiary, Manheim Auctions Government Services.  As a result, the companies were jointly and individually liable for meeting the requirements set forth in the laws regulated by OFCCP, including Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act.

Manheim Auctions, Inc. has 50 or more employees but does not have any government contracts.  Manheim Auctions Government Services has government contracts of $50,000 or more but has fewer than 50 employees.  Even though they are separate entities, the ALJ ruled that, for the purposes of affirmative action planning and recordkeeping requirements, the two companies can be treated as a single entity.  When combined, that one entity has government contracts of $50,000 or more and more than 50 employees.

The ALJ based the decision on information provided by OFCCP, as defined by the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act (WARN) in section 20 C.F.R. Part 639.3(a)(2), that states that two or more companies are considered a single entity when there is:

  • common ownership;
  • common directors and/or officers;
  • de facto exercise of control;
  • unity of personnel policies emanating from a common source; and
  • dependency of operations.

According to the ruling, employers should conduct a “single employer test” regarding their operations using the considerations above, followed by an “integrated employer test.” The integrated employer test considers four major factors including the interrelation of operations, centralized control over labor and employment decisions, common management, and common ownership or financial control.

As more audits loom for federal contractors, resulting in large fines and the potential for debarment, companies with federal contracting subsidiaries are encouraged to monitor the status of their operations to ensure that, if applicable, all entities of the business are operating within OFCCP’s guidelines. 

For additional information and OFCCP compliance assistance resources, visit www.agc.org/topicalresources.


Wage & Hour Division Responds to AGC's Request for More Davis-Bacon Compliance Assistance Resources

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.

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.

For the past few years, the Prevailing Wage Conferences have been held, at no charge, in various cities throughout the country.  AGC explained to Ms. Leppink that while the live sessions were valuable, they are not easily accessible by everyone, particularly in these budget-strained times.

AGC is pleased with the addition of this new resource, which includes video recordings of the following sessions at the conference:

  • An overview of government contract laws
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • WHD’s enforcement of the Service Contract Act and its interaction with the DBA
  • The SCA wage determination process
  • DBA surveys, wage decision, and conformance process
  • Overview of DBA definitions and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Act (CWHSSA)
  • Overview of DBA and CWHSSA investigation procedures
  • Interaction among various government contract laws and federal agencies

Each recorded segment includes a video recording of the live session with corresponding presentation slides.  A follow-along transcript of the recording is also provided on the same screen.  To access the recordings, click here.  To download a copy of the presentation slides in their original format, click here.  Additional resources on the DBA are available on AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources web page.  (Select “Compensation” from the first pull-down menu and “Davis-Bacon Act” from the second.)


Debarment Becoming More Reality Than Threat for Federal Contractors

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.

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.

In a recent case, the DOL’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) upheld an administrative law judge’s determination that a New York construction contractor, Pythagoras General Contractor, violated the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) with the “willful underpayment of wages due to misclassification of workers and failure to pay for all hours worked.”  The contractor was originally investigated beginning in 2002 after workers complained of not being paid prevailing wages.  The DOL investigation concluded that the contractor misclassified several employees as performing the work of laborers rather than mason tendors and carpenters and failed to compensate them for work performed prior to their scheduled start time.  As a result, the contractor was debarred from doing business with the federal government for three years and a decision to increase the penalty award from $447,670 to $792,397 was also upheld, stating that the contractor’s record keeping was “incomplete and inaccurate” causing DOL to find the noncompliance “aggravated and willful.”

Another case resulted in debarment when CAL Construction, a Massachusetts-based construction contractor violated the DBRA by failing to pay workers on a New York housing project the required level of prevailing wages, fringe benefits, overtime pay, or the cost of lodging.  The housing project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which required the application of the DBRA to all projects funded wholly or in part by the Act.  Both of these cases serve as reminders the importance of diligent and thorough preparation and retention of payroll records.

AGC recently met with DOL’s Wage & Hour Division acting director, Nancy Leppink, who is responsible for enforcing such laws as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family & Medical Leave Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, 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 Leppink for additional guidance and in-depth training for the often complicated and confusing wage laws to which construction contractors must adhere.

For AGC-related compliance assistance tools for federal construction contractors including publications, white papers, webinars, links to government resources and sample forms and policies, visit the Labor and HR Topical Resources webpage on the AGC website.  For an in-person experience, the 2011 HR Professionals Conference and corresponding Federal Contracting Compliance Construction HR Workshop will feature sessions by HR professionals of AGC member companies who will share experiences of surviving both a Wage & Hour Division and an OFCCP audit.   In addition, special panel discussions on compliance with the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and OFCCP will take place and experts will share their knowledge of E-Verify compliance, the ethics rule, and sub-contractor training for federal contractors.

To register for the HR Professionals Conference and the Federal Contracting Compliance Construction HR Workshop or to see full session descriptions and speaker information, visit www.agc.org/hr_ted.


ICE Issues I-9 Audit Notices to 1,000 Businesses Related to Critical Infrastructure

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.  NOIs often request that employers provide, within three business days, I-9 documentation, payroll records, copies of immigration filings, copies of Social Security Administration communications, information on independent contractors and other related information.  According to ICE, targeted employers included those whose businesses have a key role in keeping national infrastructure safe.

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.  NOIs often request that employers provide, within three business days, I-9 documentation, payroll records, copies of immigration filings, copies of Social Security Administration communications, information on independent contractors and other related information.  According to ICE, targeted employers included those whose businesses have a key role in keeping national infrastructure safe.

For fiscal year 2011, ICE has sent out more than 2,300 NOIs compared to 2,196 in fiscal year 2010, and 1,444 in fiscal year 2009.  The 17 industries singled out for these 1,000 audits included those associated with agriculture and food, financial services, commercial nuclear reactors, drinking water and water treatment, postal and shipping, healthcare, and transportation.  It is unclear whether construction contractors working for clients in those industries were also targeted.

As immigration enforcement and monitoring becomes a more pressing concern for companies across the country, it is important for employers to become aggressive in developing and executing Best Practices for staying compliant with current immigration laws and AGC has several resources that will provide assistance including AGC’s Seven Critical Steps for Surviving an I-9 Audit, which outlines what to do when a NOI is received.  AGC will also host a session at the 2011 HR Professionals Conference titled, “Before You Sign Form I-9,” a hands-on document review workshop that will train employers on ways to minimize unauthorized employment by the use of fraudulent documents.

To register for the conference, visit www.agc.org/hr_ted.  For additional resources on immigration compliance, including various articles, presentations and government resources, visit the Labor & HR Topical Resources page on the AGC website.


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