AGC's Human Resource and Labor News - June 29, 2017 / Issue No. 04-17 (Print All Articles)

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AGC Meets with Labor Secretary Acosta

AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr and staff met with new Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on June 15 to discuss AGC’s labor policy priorities and how we can work with him and the Trump Administration on workforce matters. AGC representatives informed Sec. Acosta about AGC’s concerns and positions related to such matters as: OSHA’s silica and electronic recordkeeping rules, the federal contractor paid sick leave rule, Davis-Bacon reform, project labor agreements, multiemployer pension plans, and workforce development. The meeting was friendly and productive, and AGC is optimistic about further collaboration.

AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr and staff met with new Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on June 15 to discuss AGC’s labor policy priorities and how we can work with him and the Trump Administration on workforce matters.  AGC representatives informed Sec. Acosta about AGC’s concerns and positions related to such matters as:  OSHA’s silica and electronic recordkeeping rules, the federal contractor paid sick leave rule, Davis-Bacon reform, project labor agreements, multiemployer pension plans, and workforce development.  The meeting was friendly and productive, and AGC is optimistic about further collaboration.

AGC’s hopes to work with the Labor Department on keeping American workers safe and healthy while stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. In advance of the meeting, AGC provided a list of regulatory requirements that could be abandoned or modified to ease the regulatory burden on contractors and address the skills gap.  AGC has identified ways to achieve these goals through regulatory reduction and streamlining, strengthening the symbiotic partnership between DOL and the construction industry, and enhancing present regulatory compliance education and collaboration initiatives.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133.


Labor Department Formally Moves to Rescind "Persuader Rule"

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a proposed rule to rescind the controversial “persuader rule” issued by the previous administration. AGC plans to submit comments in support of the rescission prior to the August 11 deadline.

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a proposed rule to rescind the controversial “persuader rule” issued by the previous administration.  AGC plans to submit comments in support of the rescission prior to the August 11 deadline.

The “persuader” rule expands the reporting obligations of labor relations “consultants” – which is broadly defined to include attorneys and associations – who conduct activities to persuade employees about their rights to join a union or bargain collectively, as well as the reporting obligations of employers who receive assistance from such consultants.  The rule was expected to have a substantial chilling effect on employers’ willingness and ability to seek needed advice from experts on labor matters.

The rule was issued last year but never implemented, because it was enjoined by a federal district court on a nationwide basis.  Long-standing reporting obligations under regulations in place before the Obama Administration’s rulemaking remain in effect.  They require reporting only when consultants are hired to communicate directly with employees to persuade them concerning unionization.  The enjoined rule would have expanded reporting obligations to situations in which consultants only indirectly communicate with employees, among other things.  For more information on the current regulations and the changes imposed by the enjoined rule, click here.

For more info, contact Denise Gold, Associate General Counsel, at goldd@agc.org or (703) 837-5326.


US Secretary of Labor Withdraws Joint Employer, Independent Contractor Informal Guidance

In line with AGC’s regulatory recommendations, on June 7, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors. Both pieces of guidance together took an expansive interpretation of employment and threatened the traditional relationship between contractors and their partners. AGC and its members were concerned that these interpretations would make compliance more complicated, leading to unnecessary enforcement efforts and increased costs to projects.

In line with AGC’s regulatory recommendations, on June 7, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors. Both pieces of guidance together took an expansive interpretation of employment and threatened the traditional relationship between contractors and their partners. AGC and its members were concerned that these interpretations would make compliance more complicated, leading to unnecessary enforcement efforts and increased costs to projects.

In 2015, the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division (WHD) issued an Administrator's Interpretation (AI) memo aimed at addressing the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The DOL's position was that most workers qualify as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its broad definition of "employ." Then, in 2016, the WHD issued a second AI establishing new standards for determining joint employment under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). The intent was to hold companies jointly accountable for FLSA and MSPA violations of their subcontractors, staffing agencies, joint venture partners, and the like through use of an “economic realities” analysis.

In its announcement, the DOL advised that, “Removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the department’s long-standing regulations and case law. The department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.”

AGC continues to identify opportunities where AGC and the Department of Labor (DOL) can partner on its mission to keep American workers safe and healthy while stimulating economic growth and creating new high quality jobs.  Specifically, AGC advises that DOL can achieve these goals through regulatory reduction and streamlining, strengthening the symbiotic partnership between DOL and the construction industry and enhancing present regulatory compliance education and collaboration initiatives.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.


AGC Hosts OFCCP Contractor Compliance Meeting

On June 14, 2017, AGC hosted a meeting between AGC members and officials from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). OFCCP requested the meeting for the purpose of identifying problems that construction contractors have in meeting affirmative action requirements related to recruiting and suggestions for improved compliance assistance tools.

On June 14, 2017, AGC hosted a meeting between AGC members and officials from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).  OFCCP requested the meeting for the purpose of identifying problems that construction contractors have in meeting affirmative action requirements related to recruiting and suggestions for improved compliance assistance tools.

In 2013, OFCCP updated its regulations on the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 503).  The VEVRAA rule prohibits discrimination and requires contractors to take affirmative action in all personnel practices regarding covered veterans.  The Section 503 rule prohibits discrimination and requires contractors to take affirmative action in all personnel practices for qualified individuals with disabilities.

AGC facilitates these types of meetings to connect the federal agencies with the construction industry they are required to regulate.  These are unique opportunities for AGC to help educate the federal officials on how their rulemakings translate at the practical level and identify additional opportunities for partnership.  AGC looks forward to continuing to work with the OFCCP and other federal agencies on behalf of its membership.  AGC members interested in participating in future meetings with OFCCP may contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.


Construction Staff Wages Expected to Rise by 3.4% This Year

Construction staff wages rose by 3.6% in 2016 and contractors are projecting wages to increase an average of 3.4% in 2017, according to the latest Contractor Compensation Quarterly (CCQ) published by PAS, Inc. Based on their Construction/CM Staff Salary Survey, PAS reports that increases appear to have leveled off, as noted in the following chart. PAS also points out that historically predictions are typically about .5% low, so year-end 2017 should exceed 3.4% and maybe even 2016’s 3.6% increase.

Construction staff wages rose by 3.6% in 2016 and contractors are projecting wages to increase an average of 3.4% in 2017, according to the latest Contractor Compensation Quarterly (CCQ) published by PAS, Inc. Based on their Construction/CM Staff Salary Survey, PAS reports that increases appear to have leveled off, as noted in the following chart. PAS also points out that historically predictions are typically about .5% low, so year-end 2017 should exceed 3.4% and maybe even 2016’s 3.6% increase. 


PAS does warn that it is now more challenging to analyze trends and interpret the resulting implications, clarifying that just because the overall average increase was 3.6% in 2016, it doesn’t mean everyone received a 3.6% increase. Some key positions were higher while some support positions were lower. In other words, not all positions are escalating equally and the need to monitor base and variable pay by position and job family is integral.

This edition of CCQ also comes with an addendum which highlights general benefit and healthcare trends, and offers a list of more than 90 benefit/perk practices not covered in the PAS annual Benefit Survey for Contractors. The report advises readers to expect more contractors to use the “total rewards” approach including work-life effectiveness, career development, and recognition programs. “Competitive base salary and variable pay are certainly essential,” reminds PAS, “but watch for the contractor with the most creative HR and Compensation practices to win the war for talent.”

Jeff Robinson, president of PAS, Inc., will present "The Big Pay Disconnect. Yes, Money Matters at AGC's 2017 Construction HR and Training Professionals Conference, October 11-13, 2017, in Phoenix, AZ.


Union Sector Anticipating Overall Growth in Contracting Industry but Already Experiencing Growing Labor Shortages

Contractors, labor representatives and owner-clients in the union construction and maintenance industry are significantly more optimistic about growth opportunities in 2017 and beyond (+20%) compared to last year, but they also report an increasing pervasiveness in union craft labor shortages,” reports The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) in a recent press release announcing the results of the 2017 Union Craft Labor Supply Survey conducted by it and the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council.

Contractors, labor representatives and owner-clients in the union construction and maintenance industry are significantly more optimistic about growth opportunities in 2017 and beyond (+20%) compared to last year, but they also report an increasing pervasiveness in union craft labor shortages,” reports The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) in a recent press release announcing the results of the 2017 Union Craft Labor Supply Survey conducted by it and the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council.

Over three-fourths (78%) of survey respondents project growth for 2017. This is up significantly from last year’s 58%.  Growth was projected to be strongest in the Commercial/Institutional industry sector and in the Middle Atlantic and Southeast regions.  The weakest growth was projected for the Utility sector and in the West North Central region.

Reported worker shortages were up from the prior year.  Of the 791 respondents, drawn equally from management and union representatives, 57% said they experienced a union craft labor shortage in 2016.  This compares to 52% each in 2015 and 2014.  The remaining 43% of respondents said that their union workforce had the appropriate number or a surplus of workers. The Manufacturing sector had the largest reported shortage of union craft labor at 64%, while the Commercial/Institutional and Petroleum/Natural Gas/Chemical sectors had the “best” reported union labor supply.

“The key difference” according to the press release, is that “some union crafts face greater labor shortfalls than others.”  The building trade reported to be in short supply by the greatest percentage of respondents (65%) was the Carpenters and Millwrights, followed by the Boilermakers (56%), Electricians (54%), and Iron Workers (52%).  The most highly demanded skill was welding, which was identified four times more often (36%) than the next highest-demanded skill, equipment operator (9%).

The report features numerous data cuts based on several demographics, including respondent categories, geographic regions, and specific industry sectors.  Data are presented both individually and aggregately for each of 14 crafts, including both actual staffing levels for 2015 and 2016 and projections for 2017.

Click here for a free download of the complete report.


Trump Signs Executive Order on Apprenticeships

On June 15, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the Labor Department to investigate how it can cut back the federal government’s role in creating and monitoring apprenticeship programs, a move that the White House claims will help fill vacant jobs.

On June 15, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the Labor Department to investigate how it can cut back the federal government’s role in creating and monitoring apprenticeship programs, a move that the White House claims will help fill vacant jobs.

The executive order intends to move the role of developing government-funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to third-party private entities — including trade groups, labor unions and businesses. The third parties would set their own bar for success and submit their metrics to the Labor Department for approval.

The order will also double the amount of money for apprenticeship grants, from $90 million to nearly $200 million a year.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at 703-837-5382 or claiborne.guy@agc.org.


Want FMI’s 2017 Construction Talent Development Report?

Take the Survey & Understand Your Construction Employment Market

Construction industry executives, HR professionals and training directors are asked to join their peers in completing a brief survey to gauge recent changes and practices for recruiting, retaining and training construction industry personnel. Those who complete the survey will receive FMI’s 2017 Talent Development Report. So, click here by Tuesday, July 11 to take the survey (see the last report from 2015: FMI’s 2015 Talent Development Report).

Construction industry executives, HR professionals and training directors are asked to join their peers in completing a brief survey to gauge recent changes and practices for recruiting, retaining and training construction industry personnel. Those who complete the survey will receive FMI’s 2017 Talent Development Report. So, click here by Tuesday, July 11 to take the survey (see the last report from 2015: FMI’s 2015 Talent Development Report).

The results of the survey will first be revealed in October at AGC’s 2017 Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference in Phoenix, AZ, and all attendees will receive a free copy of the final report before it is made available to others.  The report will be shared with all survey participants as well as the broader industry later this year.  FMI assures that all individual responses will be held in strict confidence and results will be presented in the aggregate only. 

For information about FMI’s 2017 Talent Development Survey, please contact Sabine Hoover at shoover@fminet.com.  For information about the 2017 Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference, please contact Carly Trout at carly.trout@agc.org or Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org.


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