AGC's Human Resource and Labor News - January 11, 2012 / Issue No. 1-12 (Print All Articles)

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NLRB Further Delays Implementation of Posting Rule

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) has again delayed the effective date of a new regulation requiring nearly every private-sector employer to post a particular notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) has again delayed the effective date of a new regulation requiring nearly every private-sector employer to post a particular notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.  Amid legal challenges to the Board’s authority to issue the regulation, the Board first postponed the original effective date of Nov. 14, 2011, to Jan. 31, 2012.  On Dec. 23, the Board further pushed back the date to April 30, 2012, stating that “postponing the effective date of the rule would facilitate the resolution of the legal challenges.”

For more information on the regulation, click here, here, and here.


NLRB Issues Final Rule on “Quickie” Elections

The National Labor Relations Board on Dec. 22 issued a final rule revising procedures in cases where a union files a petition for an election to determine whether it will become the exclusive collective bargaining representative of a unit of workers.  The effective date of the rule is April 30, 2012.

The National Labor Relations Board on Dec. 22 issued a final rule revising procedures in cases where a union files a petition for an election to determine whether it will become the exclusive collective bargaining representative of a unit of workers.  The effective date of the rule is April 30, 2012.

The final rule is a limited version of a more comprehensive and highly controversial rule proposed by the Board last June.  Critics dubbed the rule the “quickie” or “ambush” election rule because it would effectively expedite the union election process, limiting employers’ opportunity to communicate with workers about union representation and depriving employees of the ability to make a fully informed decision.  The Board received over 65,000 comments on the proposed rule, including objections submitted by AGC of America detailing how the regulation would detrimentally affect the construction industry.  In late November, the Board – facing imminent loss of a quorum and the authority to issue regulations – passed a resolution that pared down the dozens of changes in the original proposal to about six procedural changes.  The final rule is based on that resolution.

The Board asserts that the final rule will “reduce unnecessary litigation in representation cases,” enable the agency “to better fulfill its duty to expeditiously resolve questions concerning representation,” and “save time and resources for the parties and the agency.”  While the final rule is much less drastic than the proposed rule, it retains several disconcerting changes to the current process, including:

  • limiting regional hearings to issues relevant to the question of whether an election should be conducted, allowing the hearing officer to exclude evidence regarding voter eligibility and other matters;
  • allowing hearing officers to decide whether and when to accept post-hearing briefs;
  • eliminating a party’s right to file a pre-election request for review of a regional director’s decision and direction of election, deferring all such requests until after the election; and
  • rendering Board review of a regional director's resolution of certain election disputes only discretionary.

A technical summary of the changes is posted on the Board’s website at http://www.nlrb.gov/node/3240.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, both of which AGC is a member, have jointly filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to enjoin enforcement of the rule and seeking a declaratory judgment that the rule violates the National Labor Relations Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and the U.S. Constitution.  AGC will continue to monitor and report on developments.


NLRB Finds Arbitration Agreement Preventing Class Actions Unlawful

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) has ruled that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign an arbitration agreement that precludes them from filing joint, class, or collective employment claims in any forum, whether in arbitration or in court.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) has ruled that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign an arbitration agreement that precludes them from filing joint, class, or collective employment claims in any forum, whether in arbitration or in court.

The case arose after national homebuilder D.R. Horton required all of its employees (who were not represented by a union) to sign a “Mutual Arbitration Agreement” (MAA) as a condition of employment.  The MAA provided that (a) all employment disputes must be determined exclusively by an arbitrator; (b) the arbitrator may hear only individual employee claims and may not consolidate claims of multiple employees as a class or collective action; and (c) the employee waives the right to “file a lawsuit or other civil proceeding” relating to employment and the right to “resolve employment-related disputes in a proceeding before a judge or jury.”

The Board found that the MAA violated Section (8)(1) of the NLRA, which makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in” Section 7 of the Act.  Section 7 vests in employees the right to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”  According to the Board, an employee “who files a class or collective action regarding wages, hours or working conditions, whether in court or before an arbitrator, seeks to initiate or induce group action and is engaged in conduct protected by Section 7.”  The Board also concluded that its finding that the MAA is unlawful under the NLRA does not conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act, which generally favors the enforceability of arbitration agreements. 

The Board emphasized the limits of its decision.  Employers may not compel employees to waive their NLRA right to collectively pursue litigation of employment claims in all forums, both arbitral and judicial.  However, employers may insist that arbitral proceedings be conducted on an individual basis, so long as they leave open a judicial forum for class and collective claims.  Furthermore, the Board reminded, its holding affects only “employees” as the term is defined under the NLRA, which excludes supervisors, independent contractors, and certain other workers. 

In light of the ruling, AGC members are advised to review any mandatory arbitration agreements imposed on nonsupervisory employees and to consult legal counsel as needed.


Labor Department Issues FLSA and FMLA Retaliation Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently released guidance on the topic of employee retaliation with regard to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently released guidance on the topic of employee retaliation with regard to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA states that it is a violation for any person to “discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any compliant or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.”  As such, Fact Sheet #77A provides general information concerning retaliation against any employee who has filed a complaint or cooperated in a WHD FLSA investigation.  The guidance states that because the FLSA prohibits any person from retaliating against any employee, the protection applies to all employees of an employer, even in those instances in which the employee’s work and the employer are not covered by the Act.  The guidance also clarifies that Section 15(a)(3) also applies in situations where there is no current employment relationship between the parties; for example, it protects an employee from retaliation by a former employer.

Regarding the FMLA, Fact Sheet #77B provides general information concerning retaliation against an individual for exercising his or her rights or participating in matters protected under the Act.  Examples of prohibited conduct by employers explained in the guidance include refusing to authorize FMLA leave for an eligible employee; discouraging an employee from using FMLA leave; manipulating an employee’s work hours to avoid responsibilities under the FMLA; using and employee’s request for or use of FMLA as a negative factor in employment actions, such as hiring, promotions, or disciplinary actions; or counting FMLA leave under “no fault” attendance policies.

For more information on the FLSA, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources web page.  Select the main category “Compensation” and the subcategory “Fair Labor Standards Act.”  Additional information is also available on the FMLA by selecting the main category “Leave” and the subcategory “Family and Medical Leave Act.”


Obama Makes Controversial Recess Appointments to the NLRB

On January 4, Pres. Obama bypassed the Senate confirmation process and announced he would make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The appointees are:  Sharon Block (D), deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs at U.S. Department of Labor; Terence Flynn (R), chief counsel to NLRB Member Brian Hayes; and Richard Griffin (D), general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers.  The appointments were sworn into office on January 9, joining the two sitting board members – Chairman Mark Pearce (D) and Hayes (R) – to give the Board a full complement for the first time since August 2010.  The recess appointments will expire at the end of 2013.

On January 4, Pres. Obama bypassed the Senate confirmation process and announced he would make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The appointees are:  Sharon Block (D), deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs at U.S. Department of Labor; Terence Flynn (R), chief counsel to NLRB Member Brian Hayes; and Richard Griffin (D), general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers.  The appointments were sworn into office on January 9, joining the two sitting board members – Chairman Mark Pearce (D) and Hayes (R) – to give the Board a full complement for the first time since August 2010.  The recess appointments will expire at the end of 2013.

The decision by Obama to make the appointments is highly controversial and nearly unprecedented. Republicans assert that the Senate was not in recess at the time, as it continued to meet in pro forma sessions for the specific purpose of preventing the President from exercising his recess appointment authority.  The President, however, contends he did, in fact, have the authority. The move by Obama is expected to be contested in court once the new Board makes an appropriate ruling or takes another action appropriate for the challenge.

The NLRB is faced with handling many important cases impacting employers and employees. AGC believes that it is important that the decisions will be impartial and will not be subject to legal challenges surrounding the President’s authority.  AGC is also concerned that the President bypassed the traditional vetting and confirmation process in the Senate and is instead escalating the partisanship in Congress rather than working on finding common ground on important legislation, such as a long-term transportation bill and other job-creating measures.


OFCCP Proposes Changes to Affirmative Action Obligations Related to Individuals with Disabilities

On Dec. 9, 2011, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued its proposed rule to revise regulations under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act on implementing affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations to contractors and subcontractors, and to evaluate the affirmative action provisions.

On Dec. 9, 2011, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued its proposed rule to revise regulations under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act on implementing affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations to contractors and subcontractors, and to evaluate the affirmative action provisions. Currently, employers that have a direct contract (including a construction contract) with the federal government or its agencies that is valued at $10,000 or more, or that have a subcontract of the same value required to complete a direct federal contract, are required to engage in affirmative action related to individuals with disabilities.  Such federal contractors (or subcontractors) with 50 or more employees and a contract of $50,000 or more are also required to create an affirmative action program containing certain required provisions.   If implemented, construction employers would be required to complete additional statistical analysis on their workforce, regardless of where projects are located or how long such projects last.  Given the unique seasonal and often transitory nature of the industry, this would place a significant burden on construction contractors.

While AGC agrees that individuals with disabilities must not be discriminated against, AGC’s Sept. 21, 2010 comments to OFCCP’s then Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, addressed the belief that OFCCP’s contemplated broad affirmative action requirement for the recruitment of individuals with disabilities may be difficult to achieve or possibly counterproductive in the construction industry. AGC noted that record unemployment in construction, the unique nature of the construction industry, and the undue burden the additional recordkeeping would place on construction employers may make the new requirements difficult to achieve.  AGC urged the OFCCP to exempt the construction industry from the requirements of this proposed rule, or at a minimum, continue to leave the decision to hire to construction employers, stressing that those decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis based on the candidate’s ability to perform the essential functions of a particular job safely, with or without a reasonable accommodation.

Under the proposed rule, federal contractors and subcontractors would be required to set a hiring goal of 7% of their employees, in each job group, to be workers with disabilities.  OFCCP is also considering a sub-goal of 2% for individuals with severe disabilities such as total deafness, blindness, or missing extremities.  There are, however, pardons that may be requested when the individual poses a “direct threat” to the health or safety of himself or other individuals.   In addition, covered contractors will be required to give applicants the opportunity to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities, using language drafted by OFCCP, during the application process, after an offer is received but before employment begins, and annually for all employees.  While the proposed rule incorporates the expanded definition of “disability” as adopted by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, as well as additional requirements regarding the assessment of when an impairment constitutes a disability, which covers a much broader range of individuals.  As a result, employers will have a larger group of qualified individuals with disabilities from which to choose.  The challenge will be getting the individual to voluntarily certify that he or she has a disability in the first place. 

With regard to recordkeeping requirements, OFCCP is proposing to increase the record retention period of covered contractors from two to five years.  The data collection and annual data that contractors would be required to maintain would also increase significantly.  The additional data includes:

  • Total number of referrals from approved employment delivery organizations such as One-Stop Career Centers as well as organizations with which the contractor has a linkage agreement;
  • Total number of applicants for employment;
  • Number of applicants who are known to be individuals with disabilities;
  • Ratio of known applicants with disabilities to total applicants;
  • Total number of job openings;
  • Total number of jobs filled;
  • Number of known individuals with disabilities hired;
  • Ratio of hires with known disabilities to total hires; and
  • Ratio of job openings to job openings filled.

OFCCP is also considering requiring contractors to provide an annual report containing the measurements and computations listed above for each EEO-1 category.  The report would be provided to OFCCP on an annual basis, regardless of whether the contractor has been selected for a compliance evaluation.

The proposed regulations would require contractors to enter into linkage agreements and expand outreach to community groups.  At minimum, contractors would be required to establish relationships with the local State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency office closest to the contractor’s establishment, or a local organization listed in the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Employment Network Directory and at least one of several other organizations or agencies.  Contractors would also be required to consult with the Employer Resources Section of the National Resource Directory.  Additional responsibilities that would be required of contractors include the obligation to:

  • Review outreach and recruitment activities annually to evaluate their effectiveness in identifying and recruiting qualified individuals with disabilities;
  • Incorporate affirmative action plans into policy manuals and discuss the program in orientation and management training programs;
  • Develop internal procedures to further inform employees about the affirmative action plan;
  • Develop extensive specified written procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation;
  • Annually review and revise physical and mental job qualification standards; and
  • Annually evaluate compliance with utilization goals.

Additional annual requirements would include performing a self-assessment of personnel and technology processes, including identifying the vacancies and training programs for which applicants and employees with disabilities were considered, providing a statement of reasons explaining the circumstances for rejecting individuals with disabilities for vacancies and training programs with a description of considered accommodations, and providing a description of the nature and type of accommodations for individuals with disabilities who were selected for hire, promotion or training programs.  Also, contractors would be required to annually train all personnel involved with recruitment, hiring, promotion, and disciplinary and related processes on the affirmative action plan as it relates to individuals with disabilities.  The subject matter of the training, when the training was held, who attended, and who conducted the training would need to be documented and maintained for the five year period.

In an effort to send a message to subcontractors that they can no longer claim they did not know or understand their compliance obligations, OFCCP is considering the requirement that federal contractors include the full equal opportunity clause in all federal subcontracts. 

OFCCP issued a comment deadline of February 7, 2012.  Given the importance of the proposal AGC submitted a letter to OFCCP requesting an additional 60 days to more thoroughly review and comment on the newly proposed requirements, for which we are still awaiting a response.  Members interested in providing feedback to AGC should contact Tamika Carter at cartert@agc.org.  

 For more information, please contact Tamika Carter at (703) 837-5382 or cartert@agc.org, or Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org


AGC Opposes OFCCP-Proposed Compensation Data Collection Tool

On Oct. 11, 2011, AGC submitted comments on the Aug. 10, 2011, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (OFCCP) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) pertaining to non-discrimination in compensation and the creation and mandated use of a new compensation data collection tool for federal and federally-assisted contractors.  While the ANPRM proposal is not presently intended to apply to construction contractors, it does inquire about whether expansion to include the construction industry is warranted.

On Oct. 11, 2011, AGC submitted comments on the Aug. 10, 2011, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (OFCCP) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) pertaining to non-discrimination in compensation and the creation and mandated use of a new compensation data collection tool for federal and federally-assisted contractors.  While the ANPRM proposal is not presently intended to apply to construction contractors, it does inquire about whether expansion to include the construction industry is warranted.

OFCCP’s proposal would create a compensation data collection tool and require federal contractors to input compensation data for employees that would later be analyzed by the agency to determine if a more in-depth audit of a contractor’s pay practices is necessary.  AGC is firmly committed to the principles of equal opportunity employment regarding pay practices; however, by creating and requiring contractors to use a complex compensation data collection tool, AGC’s comments state that OFCCP would create additional, unnecessary administrative burdens for employers and potentially make critically private compensation information available to the public.  If implemented, both would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of businesses, including construction firms. 

AGC’s comments ask OFCCP to withdraw the  ANPRM, at minimum until such time that OFCCP, in conjunction with AGC, determines whether there is an actual need for such a tool to collect compensation data and, if so, the least burdensome means for doing so.  Specifically, AGC points out that compensation for federal contracting construction employers is already regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor pursuant to the Davis-Bacon Act.  In addition, administrative departments within construction companies are short staffed and the affect on small construction companies will be enormous.  Furthermore, AGC is not aware of, and would be surprised to hear of any pay disparities in the construction industry, therefore, making this proposed new reporting requirement unnecessary. 

AGC will continue to monitor the status of the ANPRM and has offered OFCCP additional support and guidance during this rulemaking process. 

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


AGC Webinar Discusses Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations and Enforcement Initiatives

On Dec. 8, 2011, AGC completed its two-day webinar on the Davis-Bacon Act Today: What’s New for Federal Construction Contractors.  The advanced-level webinar explained recent and upcoming happenings in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) with regard to wage determinations and enforcement.  AGC member Kris Talynn, HR director for Okland Construction, served as the moderator.  An on-demand version of the webinar is available for purchase from the AGC Bookstore.

On Dec. 8, 2011, AGC completed its two-day webinar on the Davis-Bacon Act Today: What’s New for Federal Construction Contractors.  The advanced-level webinar explained recent and upcoming happenings in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) with regard to wage determinations and enforcement.  AGC member Kris Talynn, HR director for Okland Construction, served as the moderator.  An on-demand version of the webinar is available for purchase from the AGC Bookstore

On the first day of the webinar, Natalie Boan, WHD’s branch chief of construction wage determinations, shared WHD’s survey plans for 2012.  Specifically, surveys will be conducted in Maryland, Virginia and Washington for residential construction; in Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Kentucky and Louisiana for building construction; in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland and Kentucky for highway construction; and in Guam for all types of construction, including heavy construction.   Ms. Boan also discussed changes that WHD has made to its administrative processes in order to reach the agency’s goal of surveying each state once every three years, while encouraging contractors to participate in the survey process to ensure that actual wages paid are reflected on the wage determination.  WHD shared its newly released electronic construction wage survey form, the WD-10, which offers new contractor-friendly amenities such as the ability to save and/or print a completed or partially-completed WD-10 prior to submission.  “The ability to save a WD-10 will allow the submitter to submit multiple WD-10s without re-entering all information”, stated Ms. Boan.  Deborah Wilder, author of AGC’s Davis-Bacon Compliance Manual – Third Edition and president of Contractor Compliance and Monitoring, Inc., offered best practices for requesting wage rates for classifications not listed on the wage determination, including tips for ensuring a response from WHD within 30-45 days.  For contractors interested in seeing background data used to calculate federal prevailing wage rates, Ms. Boan announced that WHD will begin making such data available to the public on its website later in 2012.

On the second day, Timothy Helm, WHD’s government contracts branch chief in the office of enforcement, described WHD’s current and upcoming enforcement initiatives.  In 2011, WHD conducted a total of 52 Davis-Bacon project investigations.   Of the 52 investigations, 748 total contractor cases were opened resulting in over $5.5 million dollars in back wages paid to over 3000 employees.  “The goal is to find those contractors who don’t want to play by the rules so that contractors who are intent on doing the right thing and providing a quality product to the government will prosper,” explained Mr. Helm.  During the webinar, Mr. Helm also shared that the new practice of “project investigation activity,” in which WHD targets a particular government contract and investigates all of the contractors and subcontractors performing at the site of the project, will continue into 2012.

Ms. Wilder and Mr. Helm both gave several examples of common problems that are repeatedly showing up during construction contractor audits.  While some common problem areas include the mishandling of apprentices and trainees, misclassification of fringe benefits, and inappropriate or illegal deductions, the most common problem appears to be the failure of contractors to flow down to subcontractors the requirements to comply with the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.  Mr. Helm advised attendees to make sure the “full labor clause, wage determination, and full Davis-Bacon provisions are flowed down to lower-tier subcontractors.  Don’t reference WDOL.gov or include links to labor clauses.”  Contractors are obligated, according to the labor clause in covered contracts, to include the full labor clause and wage determination in subcontractor agreements.  If WHD finds during an audit that a subcontractor does not have the clauses or the wage determination in its agreement, “the contractor who failed to flow down the clause is liable for the back wages.”   As a result, prime contractors are encouraged to ask for evidence of the flow down for added protection.

The webinar concluded with several tips for performing self-audits, corrective action and subcontractor training, along with best practices for preparing employees for onsite interviews during an audit. 

For more information on the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources web page.  Select the main category “Compensation” and the subcategory “Davis-Bacon Act.”


2011 Collective Bargaining Settlements Continue Downward Trend

Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations completed in 2011 resulted in an average first-year increase in wages and fringe benefits of $0.73 or 1.7 percent, according to the Construction Labor Research Council’s (CLRC’s) annual report on settlements.

Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations completed in 2011 resulted in an average first-year increase in wages and fringe benefits of $0.73 or 1.7 percent, according to the Construction Labor Research Council’s (CLRC’s) annual report on settlements.  Last year, the average was $0.80 or 1.7 percent, which was the first time since 1985 that increases dropped below two percent.  This reflects the continuation of a trend that began in 2009, when the average first-year increase of $1.23 or 2.8 percent was significantly higher than in 2010 and 2011, but was still the lowest since 1996.

CLRC notes that, for the first time in over five years, first-year increases negotiated in 2011 were lower than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The CPI in November 2011 was 3.4 percent, while it was just 1.1 percent at the same time a year earlier.  CLRC further notes that the Employment Cost Index, a better indicator of actual changes in labor cost, was 1.6 percent in September 2011 and was 1.5 percent in September 2010.

Another continuing trend since 2009 is the shortened duration of contract terms, with 68 percent of 2011 settlements lasting only one year.  This is common in tough economic times and portends that bargaining activity will be heavy again this year.  For many years prior to 2009, the negotiation of three-year contracts was most common.

Where multi-year agreements were executed in 2011, the average second-year increase negotiated was $1.29 or 2.3 percent, and the average third-year increase negotiated was $1.54 or 2.7 percent, CLRC reports.  This compares to 2010 settlements of $1.16 or 2.1 percent for the second year, and $1.39 or 2.7 percent for the third year.

The complete report 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, click here.

AGC is a founding member of CLRC and supports its efforts to gather and report useful and accurate labor-related information for contractors.  Collective bargaining AGC chapters are reminded to kindly send all settlements information to CLRC promptly upon completion.  Information may be submitted to CLRC 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.


Changes to National Maintenance Agreement Now in Effect

On Jan. 1, 2012, a revised version of the National Maintenance Agreements (NMA) went into effect.  Established around 1971, the NMA is a national project labor agreement primarily used in industrial maintenance and renovation projects, such as in petro-chemical, utility, steel, and automotive plants.

On Jan. 1, 2012, a revised version of the National Maintenance Agreements (NMA) went into effect.  Established around 1971, the NMA is a national project labor agreement primarily used in industrial maintenance and renovation projects, such as in petro-chemical, utility, steel, and automotive plants.

According to the website of the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee (NMAPC), a labor-management committee that administers the NMA, significant changes have been made, including:

  • Prior NMAPC approval is no longer required before a contractor or owner may implement a “4-10” work schedule;
  • “Me-too” provisions regarding wages, work hours, holiday, and travel and subsistence payments have been eliminated;
  • The manner by which second-shift and third-shift workers is paid has been modified;
  • All subcontracting work on an NMA job must now be performed under the terms of the NMA or an approved, compatible agreement;
  • Employers must now pay industry advancement or promotion funds approved by the NMAPC;
  • The union membership requirement for employees has been reduced to eight days from 30 days;
  • Jurisdictional dispute resolution process language has been changed to mirror the criteria set forth in The Plan for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes;
  • Arbitration costs must now be borne by the losing party or parties; and
  • Failure to hold pre-job conferences may result in a $500 fine.

On the same date, changes to the National Power Generation Maintenance Agreement (NPGMA) also went into effect.

For more information from the NMAPC on the revised NMA and NPGMA, click hereTo download the revised NMA, click here.


New Law Offers Tax Credits for Hiring Unemployed Veterans

On Nov. 21, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011While the law offers many direct benefits to personally assist the nation’s veterans, such as education and training programs, for employers, the law provides tax incentives when qualifying unemployed veterans are hired and begin work between Nov. 22, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012.

On Nov. 21, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011While the law offers many direct benefits to personally assist the nation’s veterans, such as education and training programs, for employers, the law provides tax incentives when qualifying unemployed veterans are hired and begin work between Nov. 22, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012. 

The VOW Act will provide tax credits of up to $2,400 for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks; up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months; and up to $9,600 for businesses that hire veterans who have service-connected disabilities and have been unemployed longer than 6 months.  State workforce agencies will certify veterans as meeting the required periods of unemployment based on receipt of unemployment insurance compensation.

Additional information on the VOW Act can be found here.  AGC will notify members once guidance on how to claim credit is available.


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