AGC's Human Resource and Labor News - October 12, 2017 / Issue No. 07-17 (Print All Articles)

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Year-to-Date Collective Bargaining Yields Average First-Year Increase of 2.8%

Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations settled so far this year resulted in an average wage-and-benefit increase of 2.6 percent or $1.44, according to the latest Settlements Report issued by the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC). Settlements reported between January and September 2017 resulted in an average first-year wage-and-benefit increase of 2.8 percent or $1.62. For newly negotiated multiyear agreements, the average second-year increase was 2.9 percent or $1.69. Settlements this year maintain an upward trend that has continued since 2011.

Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations settled so far this year resulted in an average wage-and-benefit increase of 2.6 percent or $1.44, according to the latest Settlements Report issued by the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC).  Settlements reported between January and September 2017 resulted in an average first-year wage-and-benefit increase of 2.8 percent or $1.62.  For newly negotiated multiyear agreements, the average second-year increase was 2.9 percent or $1.69.  Settlements this year maintain an upward trend that has continued since 2011.

The full report, which contains additional information such as regional and craft breakdowns, is available to AGC members in the Labor & HR Topical Resources area of AGC’s website under the main category “Collective Bargaining” and subcategory “Collective Bargaining Agreement Data.”  An updated report is expected in December or January.

AGC’s collective bargaining chapters are reminded to please send settlements information to CLRC at clrc@clrcconsulting.org promptly after completion of bargaining.  Chapters and members are also reminded that CLRC is available to assist with custom projects, such as analyses of local market share, contract language costs, union vs. nonunion wage and benefits comparisons, and wage and benefits benchmarks, at a discount for AGC affiliation.  For more information about these services, please call CLRC directly at (202) 347-8440.


Republicans Take Control of NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) now has a full complement of five members with a Republican majority for the first time in roughly a decade. This follows from the September 27 swearing in of Republican William J. Emanuel as a Board member for a term ending on August 27, 2021. Emanuel is the second Trump nominee to join the Board, following Republican Marvin E. Kaplan’s swearing in on August 10 for a term ending on August 27, 2020.

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) now has a full complement of five members with a Republican majority for the first time in roughly a decade.  This follows from the September 27 swearing in of Republican William J. Emanuel as a Board member for a term ending on August 27, 2021.  Emanuel is the second Trump nominee to join the Board, following Republican Marvin E. Kaplan’s swearing in on August 10 for a term ending on August 27, 2020.

Emanuel is a very experienced management-side labor lawyer.  He was most recently a shareholder in the Los Angeles office of Littler Mendelson and has practiced with several other prominent law firms. 

The latest appointments technically provide the opportunity for the Board to reverse decisions and rules issued by the Obama Board that are considered by many to reflect hostility toward employers or at least a lack of understanding of business operations.  However, this can take some time, as it can take a while for new Board members to get up to speed enough to address key issues and, even more so, for key issues to make their way up to the Board.  Moreover, the term of the third Republican on the Board, Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra, is set to expire on December 16.  Miscimarra has announced that he is not interested in re-appointment, so a new member must be nominated and confirmed by the Senate.  Until that happens, the Board may have a period of an even Republican/Democrat split minimizing the likelihood of any significant changes in position.

Furthermore, Obama appointee Richard F. Griffin, Jr. remains the NLRB’s general counsel until his term expires on or about November 4.  Pres. Trump recently nominated Peter B. Robb to succeed Griffin.  Senate confirmation is pending.  Robb is a management-side labor lawyer with the law firm Downs Rachlin Marin in Vermont.  Responsible for investigating and prosecuting unfair labor practice cases, the general counsel has a great deal of power to shape national labor policy.

For now, AGC members should continue to follow the decision and guidance issued by the prior Board unless advised otherwise by competent legal counsel.  For more information about federal labor law, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources page.  (Be sure to login as an AGC member to see all resources.)  For labor lawyer referrals, visit the AGC Labor and Employment Law Council’s member directory.


New Federal Contracts Providing Hurricane Relief Get Some Relief from OFCCP Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that the agency will support Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts in a number of ways, including by relaxing federal contractors’ requirements on a temporary basis. As part of the initiative, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will be temporarily suspending certain requirements on federal contractors to allow “businesses involved in hurricane relief the ability to prioritize recovery efforts.”

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that the agency will support Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts in a number of ways, including by relaxing federal contractors’ requirements on a temporary basis. As part of the initiative, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will be temporarily suspending certain requirements on federal contractors to allow “businesses involved in hurricane relief the ability to prioritize recovery efforts.”

The Exemptions

According to the National Interest Exemption (NIE) for Hurricane Harvey and the NIE for Hurricane Irma, for a period of three months, new federal contracts to provide Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief will be exempt from the requirement to develop written affirmative action programs as required by:

  • Executive Order 11246;
  • the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act; and
  • Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. 

Applicability Period

OFCCP issued the Hurricane Harvey NIE on August 31, 2017, and revised it on September 7, 2017, to clarify that it also applies to construction contracts. The Harvey exemption started on September 1, 2017, and will end on December 1, 2017, and is subject to extension.

The Hurricane Irma NIE lasts for three months—starting on September 8, 2017, and ending on December 8, 2017—subject to possible extension.

Covered Contracts

According to the Harvey NIE frequently asked questions (FAQ) page and the Irma NIE FAQ page, OFCCP notified all federal contracting agencies of the NIE and provided them with “language to include in new supply & service and construction contracts,” which are entered into specifically to provide Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief. The FAQ pages also state that contracting officers “are in the best position to determine what constitutes a supply & service or construction contract specifically to provide” hurricane relief.

In addition to prime contractors, both NIEs cover subcontractors that provide “goods or services as part of a prime contract” specifically for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief that explicitly contain “the national interest exemption provision” detailed in OFCCP’s September 7, 2017 Harvey NIE memorandum and September 7, 2017 Irma NIE memorandum.

Geographic Boundaries

The Harvey NIE covers “[a]ny area that has been designated a Designated Area by FEMA to receive both individual and public assistance (FEMA categories A and B).” The list of covered counties includes Fort Bend, Galveston, Jackson, and Liberty.

The Irma NIE’s FAQ page describes the covered areas to include “[a]ny area that has been designated a Designated Area by FEMA to receive both individual and public assistance (FEMA categories A and B).” The FAQs page states that FEMA’s Disaster Declarations page includes a list of designated areas.

Editor’s note:  This article was drafted by the attorneys of Ogletree Deakins, a labor and employment law firm representing management, and is reprinted with permission. This information should not be relied upon as legal advice.  For more information, contact authors Leigh M. Nason and Hera S. Arsen.


AGC Advises DOL to Revisit Overtime Rule’s Salary Threshold

On September 25, AGC submitted comments to the U. S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in response to a Request for Information (RFI) on the 2016 changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations. In line with AGC’s regulatory recommendations, this RFI is the first step the DOL is undertaking to revisit the overtime rule that dramatically increased the salary threshold for exempt employees. AGC and its members were concerned that imposing such a large and immediate increase might result in unintended consequences, particularly for small construction companies, construction employers in lower‐wage regions, and construction personnel.

On September 25, AGC submitted comments to the U. S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in response to a Request for Information (RFI) on the 2016 changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations. In line with AGC’s regulatory recommendations, this RFI is the first step the DOL is undertaking to revisit the overtime rule that dramatically increased the salary threshold for exempt employees. AGC and its members were concerned that imposing such a large and immediate increase might result in unintended consequences, particularly for small construction companies, construction employers in lower‐wage regions, and construction personnel.

AGC’s comment letter agrees that FLSA should be modernized, but advises WHD to update the salary threshold to a reasonable number that makes sense for today’s workforce. AGC recommends WHD consider the 2004 methodology in setting a single salary threshold that makes sense for employers nationwide, including those in lower-cost, lower-wage regions, allowing the economic market conditions to prevail in higher-cost, higher-wage regions. AGC believes that should the DOL choose to apply the 2004 methodology to current data, no additional revisions to the duties tests would be necessary. In response to the specific questions posed in the RFI, AGC stresses simplicity over complexity as the WHD revisits the threshold.

AGC will continue to provide input to the DOL on the impact further changes might have on the construction industry and will notify members of any developments. 

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


AGC Participates in Trump Admin. Deregulatory Week

Represents Construction Industry before White House, DOL & DOT

AGC recently participated in a series of deregulatory events at the White House and federal agencies—including the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Transportation – as the administration continues outreach to AGC for guidance on regulatory reforms to undertake. To date, AGC has provided several hundred pages worth of obsolete, over burdensome or duplicative regulations and detailed recommendations for federal agencies to consider in their quest to cut red tape. For a list of top regulations AGC continues to address, click here.

AGC recently participated in a series of deregulatory events at the White House and federal agencies—including the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Transportation – as the administration continues outreach to AGC for guidance on regulatory reforms to undertake. To date, AGC has provided several hundred pages worth of obsolete, over burdensome or duplicative regulations and detailed recommendations for federal agencies to consider in their quest to cut red tape. For a list of top regulations AGC continues to address, click here.

At the White House, Vice President Mike Pence noted that the Trump administration has issued 58 percent fewer and costly regulations than former President Obama and has saved $560 million by cutting regulations. Nevertheless, there is still much work to be done with regulations from silica to “Waters of the united states” and permit streamlining for the construction industry. AGC will continue to provide substantive information to regulators and the White House as well as push forward on Capitol Hill for regulatory reform.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org.


AGC Convention Registration Now Open

February 26-28, New Orleans

It’s not too early to make your plans to attend the 99th Annual AGC Convention, which will take place Feb. 26-28, 2018, in New Orleans, LA. Come to cultivate new ideas and partners, see and hear the latest in construction innovation, celebrate AGC’s 100th birthday, and leave with tools to take your business to the next level. Join your fellow construction industry colleagues and benefit from the over-$100 billion worth of experience present, while taking part in your choice of 18 education sessions, 4 division sessions and meetings, 2 plenary sessions, and 2 awards ceremonies featuring the very best in the construction industry, and much more.

It’s not too early to make your plans to attend the 99th Annual AGC Convention, which will take place Feb. 26-28, 2018, in New Orleans, LA.  Come to cultivate new ideas and partners, see and hear the latest in construction innovation, celebrate AGC’s 100th birthday, and leave with tools to take your business to the next level.  Join your fellow construction industry colleagues and benefit from the over-$100 billion worth of experience present, while taking part in your choice of 18 education sessions, 4 division sessions and meetings, 2 plenary sessions, and 2 awards ceremonies featuring the very best in the construction industry, and much more.  

The AGC Convention is your opportunity to get plugged into the past, present and future of your industry.  Click here for more info and registration.  Please note that the detailed agenda is still under development.  A Union Contractors Committee-hosted session is tentatively planned for Feb. 26 at 3:00 p.m.  Brent Booker, secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions, has been invited to speak (attendance unconfirmed at this time).  More details to come.


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