Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 1, 2012
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On the Inside
2012 ELECTIONS
Members-Only Post Election Conference Call
Help Get Out the Vote at Your Company
Election Results to Dictate Course of Lame Duck
LABOR
AGC Opposes Three NAVFAC Project Labor Agreement Inquiries
FEDERAL
AGC Urges Bureau of Reclamation to Reconsider “A La Carte” Procurement of Dredging Services
SAFETY
OSHA Issues Compliance Directive for Roadway and Highway Construction Work Zones
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2012 ELECTIONS
Members-Only Post Election Conference Call
 

AGC's Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sandherr and Government Affairs staff will discuss the results of the congressional and presidential elections and how it will impact the construction industry specifically during a one-hour conference call. The discussion will include a look at the threats and opportunities for the construction industry in the upcoming lame duck session and in the next Congress.   

This free, members-only post-election conference call will be held on Nov. 8, 2012, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.

To obtain call-in information, please register here.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

Advertisement
Help Get Out the Vote at Your Company
 

As you know, the construction industry has much at stake in this election. Because of this, it is imperative that we encourage our colleagues, family members and friends to go the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6. You can watch AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr discuss the election and why it is so critical for AGC members to get out and vote here.

A small margin of votes may decide this election so it is important that those who are eligible to vote do so. Even if you’ve done everything in your power to prepare people to vote, there’s no guarantee everyone will make it to the polls on Election Day.

But remember, even the simplest efforts on your part can yield great results. Basic information such as a reminder on Election Day that says where to go and when the polls close is proven to have a strong impact on voter turnout.

How you can help:

• Set up a call bank to remind employees and their families about Election Day.
• Mobilize team members to knock on office doors, stop by cubicles and jobsites.
• Leave flyers on desks.
• Hang posters in lunchrooms and other public areas.
• Post a reminder on the front page of your company Intranet.
• Use a voicemail tree or send out a broadcast email with a reminder and voting information. (You may include the AGC Presidential Candidate Comparison with such a communication and suggest to employees that they educate themselves on candidates’ positions related to construction. The comparison is available for download at ConstructionVotes.com.)

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (703) 837-5013 or ashinoffd@agc.org. Return to Top

Election Results to Dictate Course of Lame Duck
 

When Congress returns to work on Nov. 13, the length of and the issues addressed during the lame duck will be determined by the outcome of the Presidential race and to a lesser extent the outcome of Congressional elections.  The two issues that AGC has been monitoring most closely are top issues which Congress must deal with – sequestration and other elements of the fiscal cliff – and the way that these issues are dealt with hinges on who wins the Presidential election. 

If Governor Romney Wins: The consensus under this scenario is that if Governor Romney wins it could be a very quick and brief lame duck with almost everything getting kicked to next year to allow Romney to outline his own budget and get staff in place to negotiate with Congress.

If President Obama Wins: If the President wins a second term and the House of Representatives and Senate stay in Republican and Democrat control respectively, the lame duck will likely stay in session most of December.  During the lame duck, Congress and the Administration could reach consensus to freeze some or all sequester cuts for at least six months, and possibly for up to one year, to allow for time to reach a broader “grand bargain” deal in early 2013.  In regards to taxes under this scenario, President Obama could fight to let some of the Bush tax rates expire and push the other tax extenders off into next year so that all tax issues are dealt with in a longer term comprehensive tax reform bill. 

A third scenario would involve the outcome of the election –either for President or control of the Senate – to be in doubt after Nov. 6.  This would make the lame duck even more complicated and could result in the delay of any type of Congressional action during the lame duck.

Discussions involving the fiscal cliff and sequester on Capitol Hill are more and more referencing a “framework” that could be put in place in the lame duck to lay the groundwork for a larger “grand bargain” that would need to be established in 2013.  AGC will continue to work to educate members of Congress and work with them to ensure that any action taken during the lame duck does not negatively impact the construction industry.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at neills@agc.org. Return to Top

LABOR
AGC Opposes Three NAVFAC Project Labor Agreement Inquiries
 

This week, AGC sent letters opposing three government-mandated project labor agreement (PLA) inquiries posted by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). NAVFAC Northwest and NAVFAC Southwest sought industry comments on possible PLAs for two projects at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Washington, including a $25 to $100 million fire station renovation and a $10 to $25 million industrial control system repair and modernization job, and for one project at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego, California, which is an $80 million design-build bachelor enlisted quarters building project.

AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a government agency’s selection process.  

To view AGC’s letters, please click here.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

FEDERAL
AGC Urges Bureau of Reclamation to Reconsider “A La Carte” Procurement of Dredging Services
 

In an Oct. 31 letter to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), AGC noted its grave concerns about BOR’s procurement of only a commercial dredging operation crew for the agency’s recently commissioned, government-owned dredging vessel.  In this letter, AGC notes, among other things that, “[l]ike ordering a meal at a high-end steak house, BOR’s procuring its dredging services a la carte would not likely save the agency valuable taxpayer dollars.”

On Sept. 28, 2012, BOR posted a sources sought notice for “Dredging Services” to maintain settling basins on the lower Colorado River near Yuma, Ariz. Specifically, that notice states that BOR “has a requirement for the performance of dredging services utilizing Government Furnished Equipment,” likely to include operation of the recently commissioned, BOR-owned Ellicott 860SL Dredger.

AGC strongly urged BOR to reconsider its current dredging proposal. Furthermore, AGC recommended that the agency follow the lesson learned by other failed government insourcing of private work experiments and sell its dredging equipment to the industry that consistently performs this work safely, efficiently and effectively.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

SAFETY
OSHA Issues Compliance Directive for Roadway and Highway Construction Work Zones
 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a compliance directive (CPL 02-01-054) to provide guidance to its compliance officers addressing the safe inspection of work sites where workers performing construction work on and/or near roadways or highways are exposed to hazards from vehicular traffic. This is the first time that OSHA has detailed how compliance officers should go about inspecting highway road construction projects. The directive states that highway construction work zone inspections have two points of focus: inspections of construction work and inspections of temporary traffic controls. The directive also provides guidance on issuing consistent citations for violations.

The directive  specifically focuses on the OSHA standards regarding the use of signs, signals, and barricades, which is incorporated by the reference of Part VI of the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) 1988 Edition, Revision 3, as well as the Millennium Edition (December 2000). Additionally, the directive provides general enforcement guidance on issuing citations for § 5(a)(1) General Duty Clause violations.

The AGC Safety and Health Committee and Highway and Transportation Division are currently reviewing and analyzing the directive to identify any areas of concern regarding this inspection policy. AGC has, in the past, raised concerns with OSHA about its inspectors not having the proper expertise for enforcing MUTCD requirements. In addition, AGC has pointed out that many states have adopted their own version of the MUTCD.

Unfortunately, OSHA seems to be over simplifying construction work, saying that "inspecting road construction work is much the same as inspecting other types of construction." In particular, the directive says inspectors "should pay attention" to compliance with standards for noise, dust, silica, illumination, personal protective equipment, scaffolds, fall protection, equipment, excavations, precast and poured concrete, steel erection, and cranes.

When checking temporary traffic controls, inspectors are expected to refer to the FHWA's Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the directive says. The directive also sets requirements for OSHA staff. Each of OSHA's 10 regions must designate a staff member as the "traffic control coordinator" who will provide support to investigations of traffic control issues and ensure that compliance officers receive training on inspecting roadway worksites.

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org. Return to Top

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