A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members June 3, 2010

OSHA Raising Dollar Penalties in Early June! Tell Us Your Experiences

AWI is cooperating with the Wood Component Manufacturers Association (WCMA) to gather information about experiences woodworkers have concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). An Alert titled, "OSHA Ups the Ante," by attorneys with an industry law firm indicates, "OSHA will be changing the amounts it aims to collect from penalties." Is it warranted?

The Alert also states that OSHA "is pushing legislation that would raise the maximum penalty for a serious violation (presently $7,000, and $70,000 if the violation is determined to be willful) to $12,000 and $250,000 respectively. Before increasing the maximum penalty, however, legislation must grant OSHA the authority to raise these amounts.

Meanwhile, the agency aims to "Increase the average penalties collection from $1,000 to $3,000 - $4,000 per serious violation," the Alert states. For more details about OSHA’s plans, see the attached copy of the Alert. 

 To help in calculating the experiences of the architectural woodwork industry, please take a moment to complete the attached AWI survey. The survey opens today, June 3, and closes on June 10, so please act right away. The tabulated results will be released in the June 17th edition of AWI e-briefs.

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Safety Matters

Last Call for Submissions for 2010 AWI/CNA Safety Awards Program

Don’t let this opportunity pass by to gain recognition for maintaining a safe shop. Boost the morale of your employees. AWI Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate in the 2010 AWI/CNA Safety Awards Program. The submission period closes tomorrow, Friday, June 4, 2010.

How do you submit an application?  All AWI Manufacturing Members in good standing are eligible to participate. Submit your information here: www.inverra.com/AWI/2010safety.html.

What are the benefits?

  • Gain recognition.
  • Market safety as a core business value.
  • Build team spirit among your employees.
  • Negotiate business with added leverage.

As in previous years, honors will be awarded for Best Safety Achievement, Zero Lost Time Accident Achievement, and Safety Improvement Recognition. Honorees will be recognized at the 58th AWI Annual Convention, October 27-30, 2010, in Denver, CO.

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AWI Safety Week Launches Next Week

Next week is the annual 2010 AWI Safety Week. Rededicate yourself to the safety of your most valuable investment – your employees.

Watch for news and information coming from AWI to your e-mail "In Box" the week of June 6th.
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Proposed Revisions in NFPA Standards Affect Woodworking Facilities

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 664 for woodworking facilities is currently in its revision cycle and NFPA is actively considering proposed revisions. AWI is passing along a memo from the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WWMA) Dust Task Force for your interest and potential comment to WWMA by June 11.

The WWMA Wood Dust Task Force says it encourages "all interested parties to obtain the Report on Proposals (ROP) and make comment on the proposed revisions under consideration. The NFPA 664 Report on Proposals will be posted on 6/25/10, according to the NFPA Web site."  It can be accessed by clicking here.

A comment form from the Web site can be downloaded for your use.

Issues under Consideration

  • Required signage on all dust collectors (Log #19)
  • Requirements for access doors on ducting (Log #3)
  • Requirements for explosion isolation equipment on return air ducts (Log # CP13)

The latter issue may have serious economic ramifications for woodworking operations, WWMA advises.  "One opinion that is shared by a number of members of the [WWNA] Dust Task Force is an objection to the inclusion of (Log #CP13) which would mandate explosion isolation devices on all return air ducts from an outdoor dust collector.  It is felt that this will place a new and unnecessary economic burden – particularly on the small woodworking operation. The need for this additional protection has not been demonstrated by any loss history study."

Proposed Combination of Standards
Action Requested: Deadline for comments is June 11, 2010.

"Another matter of importance is the possible combination of a number of different standards that address different industries that face a common hazard inherent in the handling of combustible dusts.  There has already been a lot of harmonizing of 664 with 654."

Please see the attached two page memo (Seeking Input on Combining Documents) for more information.

The general consensus among WWMA Dust Task Force members seems to be that "the combination of NFPA 664 with other standards will not be in the interest of the woodworking industry because it would likely eliminate the exemption for the small wood shop as defined in 1.1.2 and the goal to provide for a facility that is "reasonably protected…in a cost effective manner" as stated in 4.1 of the standard."

"Another concern of combining the standards is fear that the committee that oversees the combined standard will not be balanced. It may not include adequate representation from the industry (woodworking operations) that will be forced to comply with the standards and will be directly impacted economically by the specific provision of the standard." 

Important Note: NFPA is seeking Industry members (representatives from woodworking operations) to join the committee. You can spread the word to customers of your membership to recruit participation.  Committee members are expected to attend called meetings at their own expense, vote and comment on proposals.  They must join the NFPA which involves an annual membership fee. 

Comments concerning the combination of standards can be made to NFPA Standards Administration: rforan@nfpa.org.   (Attn: Roseann)
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Learning Forum

Are You Ready for Some Team Building? Let the Games Begin!

Join convention attendees as they take the field and challenge each other in the first annual AWI Playoffs at Invesco Field.

Spring training begins today!

Sign up at awinet.org.

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AWI & AWI Empire State Chapter Team Up for Summer Learning Seminars

Carve out time at the end of July for the next round of AWI Professional Development Seminars. The AWI Empire State Chapter will host sessions for estimating and project managers in the Albany, New York area. What’s on the agenda?

Click here for more details about the "Fundamentals of Estimating" and "Fundamentals of Project Management" sessions. What could be more vital to the success of your business than these fundamental tasks? Send your new employees to learn the basics; send novice managers to fine-tune fundamental knowledge and skills.

Stay tuned for more information. Registration and other details are coming soon.
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Business Tools

AWI Offers Value-Added Benefit for CODBS Participants

Coming this month...With the results of the much-anticipated 2010 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey & Compensation Study Report about to be released, all AWI Manufacturing Member survey participants can look forward to additional value this year. For the first time, AWI will host a CODBS Webinar focusing on the survey results and their implications for architectural woodworkers during these turbulent economic times. When can you look for the printed results and the online presentation?

The full CODBS Report will be mailed to all participants the week of June 14. Watch your mailbox; it’s coming soon. On its heels, AWI will host an interactive Webinar this month as a thank you to all participants who want to enhance their understanding of the survey results and their relevance to business profits and operating costs. AWI Marketing Committee member Marc Sanderson, President of Wilkie Sanderson, will be the featured presenter. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and make observations during the Webinar.

Don’t miss out on this new benefit of participation in the annual CODBS. For insights about the importance of the CODBS to Wilkie Sanderson, see the article, "Benchmarks for Better Business Management," featured in the February 2010 issue of AWI NewsBriefs, AWI’s monthly print newsletter.
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Seeing Is Believing the Professionalism of Woodwork Projects

Send your customers to the online version of Design Solutions! Encourage them to check out the professionalism of the architectural woodwork industry. See the spring issue of Design Solutions which is now available for viewing 24/7 on the AWI Web site.

Click here for access. The spring issue of Design Solutions features these AWI members:

  • Ilex Woodworking, Inc (MD)
  • Montbleau & Associates (CA)
  • Mod Interiors, Inc. (MI)
  • Inter Ocean Cabinet Company (IL)
  • Wittrock Woodworking Inc. (OH)

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Employers Gain a Competitive Edge with Work-Life Balance Programs

From Administaff, AWI Affinity Partner

Everyone knows there is no such thing as having the perfect career and personal life. In today’s workplace, employees realize that performing well at work often requires longer hours, which makes finding time for oneself or one’s family a considerable challenge. Add a bad economy to the mix, and the pressure of juggling both can be overwhelming. The result?

Employees feel overworked and stressed, which can lead to reduced productivity, illness and absenteeism.

To help employees achieve more balance in their lives, many employers have implemented flextime and telecommuting programs. But others are not completely sold on the idea of employees working remotely.

Why should employers consider integrating more work-life balance into their culture?

Enhances Recruiting
Small and medium-sized companies that promote work-life balance are very likely to have a stronger recruiting edge, especially among the growing number of newbies entering the workforce. Known as Generation Y, these workers rank work-life balance high on their list of priorities.

Improves Employee Retention
Companies that want to keep their best employees encourage work-life balance practices. A recent Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey revealed that 89% of HR professionals reported employee retention to have been positively affected by the implementation of flexible work arrangements.

Increases Productivity
Organizations seeking ways to enhance efficiency in the workplace are finding that flexibility yields big results. For example, research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board found companies that effectively manage work-life balance propositions can improve employee discretionary effort levels by 21%.

Companies that promote flexibility in the workplace are at a competitive advantage. As the pressures of everyday life continue, employees who are encouraged to take care of themselves will be happier, more productive and less likely to want to leave a company that supports their efforts.

Article provided by Administaff (NYSE: ASF), the nation's leading professional employer organization (PEO), serving as a full-service human resources department that provides small and medium-sized businesses with administrative relief, big-company benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity. The company operates 50 sales offices in 23 major markets.  For more information about Administaff, call 800.465.3800 or visit www.administaff.com. Administaff is an AWI Affinity Partner. 
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Sales Training: Why It Doesn’t Stick

"Research shows that within 60 days of a sales meeting, 87% of the content is forgotten." Why do sales training programs fail?

The May 6th Special Report edition of Sales & Marketing (free subscription) lists the top six reasons sales training won’t stick.
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Open the Door to New Business with an AWI “Award of Excellence”

Looking for potential new customers? Need a reason to stay in touch with your past and present customers. Tell them you earned an AWI "Award of Excellence." How do you start the process?

Submit your application for the next "Award of Excellence" (AOE) honors program – fall 2010.

Use an AOE award to market your excellence and gain a competitive edge during these challenging times when others are seeking entry into your markets. All Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate. Gain exposure among the outstanding projects of AWI Manufacturing Members who are featured in Design Solutions Magazine, AWI’s official quarterly journal.

Visit awinet.org for submission forms. The deadline for submissions for the next quarterly (fall) AOE honors program is August 1, 2010. Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of Design Solutions Magazine which is open for business 24/7, plus distribution to more than 25,000 industry professionals.

Pictured is one of the award-winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects featured in a recent AWI "Award of Excellence" quarterly competition. The lobby (shown here) of the Mariner Bay Apartment Building in Annapolis, MD, features paneling fabricated by Ilex Woodworking, Inc., Baltimore, MD. They also provided paneling for the corridors of the building, wainscot in the reception area, running trim throughout, columns, bar, guard desk and work stations in this luxury high-rise apartment community. Other views of this project can be seen in the spring issue of Design Solutions.                                                                                    
Photo Credit: T. Whitney Cox, New York, NY
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AWI News

AWIEF Awards $30,500 for Tomorrow’s Workforce

"The AWI Education Foundation (AWIEF) is pleased to announce that six scholarships totaling $10,500 have been awarded this spring to worthy students showing promise as members of the architectural woodwork community of the future," AWIEF President Robert Stout announced. "The AWI Education Foundation has also made a $20,000 donation to WoodLINKS USA to support high school woodworking programs.

Scholarships Awarded

  • $2000 to Christopher Rider, Virginia Tech (Thank You from Christopher)
  • $2000 to Ryan Williams, New England School of Architectural Woodworking
  • $2000 to Scott Vasey, Pittsburgh State University (See Thank You Note from Scott)
  • $1500 to Andrew Prioli, Rhode Island School of Design (See Thank You from Andrew & his parents)
  • $1500 to Steven Costa, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • $1500 to Chad Szablewski, Fox Valley Technical College

Read the letters of appreciation received to date. Their comments make you realize how important it is to contribute to the education of worthy young people.

Contributions Received

The AWIEF recently received a gift of $2,500 from the AWI New England Chapter, whose contribution will fund scholarships in the New England area.

Having received the official determination as a private, non-operating foundation from the IRS, AWIEF is eligible to receive fully tax deductible donations. Contributions are being accepted for the upcoming school year.

For more information about the AWI Education Foundation (AWIEF) and to contribute to the education of tomorrow’s workforce, contact Phil Duvic, Executive Vice President, Architectural Woodwork Institute, at 571.323.3636.
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Join the AWI Online Discussions: Learn, Share, Connect

One of the intangible benefits of being an AWI member is the sharing of knowledge and collective experience among peers that you gain from networking opportunities, such as through popular social networking media. A current example of shared knowledge is the posting of an article about business building ideas in the AWI section of LinkedIn.

Click into the forums anytime to find out what’s important among architectural woodworkers. Click into the latest discussion about this topic here. AWI’s Chief Learning Officer Greg Heuer recommends checking this article out posted in LinkedIn. You can also see the comments of others. Get LinkedIn and receive notices of new discussions.

If you’re not yet registered with LinkedIn, do it when you check out the article. It’s free and it’s a useful networking tool among AWI members.
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AWI Honorary Life Membership Nominations Accepted until July 31

AWI is currently inviting nominations for the high distinction of Honorary Life Member.  Do you know someone who should be recognized?

Honorary Life Members are individuals who have contributed exemplary service to the association, its’ members, and AWI’s Mission as deemed by his/her peers.

For nomination procedures, qualifications for Honorary Life Member, and nomination forms, click here. The deadline for nominations is July 31, 2010.
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Industry News

April Construction Falls 9%

New construction starts in April dropped 9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $397.6 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Much of the decline was due to a pullback for nonresidential building, which in recent months had appeared to be stabilizing after the steep downturn experienced in 2009. 

The housing sector also lost momentum in April, slipping back after recent gains.  Running counter in April was nonbuilding construction, which registered moderate growth as the result of heightened activity for environmental public works and electric utilities.  During the first four months of 2010, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $125.8 billion, essentially the same amount as reported a year ago, according to McGraw-Hill.

The April data lowered the Dodge Index to 84 (2000=100), down from a reading of 92 in March.  The Dodge Index had reached its most recent low in February 2009 at 82, and since then it has hovered in the range of 84 to 95.  "The April decline indicates that the construction start statistics remain in an up-and-down pattern, in contrast to what appeared earlier to be evidence that a modest upward trend was taking hold," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.  "The commercial building market is still beset by rising vacancies, and it will take some time before the improving employment picture helps vacancies to recede.  Tight state and local fiscal conditions are having a dampening impact on the institutional building market.  The housing upturn is still in its early stages, subject to the occasional setback.  The public works sector is the one bright spot for construction, helped by the broadening expansion across project types that’s taking place this year," Murray said.

McGraw-Hill reported that nonresidential building in April plunged 23% to $120.1 billion (annual rate).  A number of categories had been lifted in March by support coming from large projects, and the absence of such support in April contributed to steep declines.  The amusement-related category plummeted 72% in April, after its elevated March pace.  Office construction in April dropped 48%, compared to March.   Healthcare facilities in April decreased 40%.   The manufacturing building category in April fell 33%, sliding from its March amount.

Also retreating in April was the educational building category, down 10%; and warehouses, down 13%.  On the plus side, a few nonresidential categories in April were able to post gains.  These included stores and shopping centers, up 6%; and hotels, up 35%; both relative to very low amounts in March.  The transportation terminal category in April soared 90%.  The public buildings category (which includes military facilities and courthouses) grew 14% in April, while church construction was unchanged.

McGraw-Hill reported that residential building, at $136.8 billion (annual rate), decreased 7% in April.  Single family housing dropped 8%, in a departure from the steady improvement that had been shown after this category hit bottom in January 2009.  The multifamily projects that are reaching the construction start stage continue to be smaller-scale than several years ago.  During the first four months of 2010, there were five multifamily projects valued in excess of $75 million that reached groundbreaking, up slightly from the two such projects in the same period of 2009, but down substantially from the 28 such projects in the same period of 2006 at the peak of the condo boom.

The "no change" shown by total construction on an unadjusted basis for the first four months of 2010 was due to a mixed pattern by sector, according to McGraw-Hill.  Residential building was up 34%, with the comparison to the early months of 2009 when single family housing was especially weak.  Nonresidential building year-to-date fell 18%, due to this pattern by major segment – commercial building, down 38%; manufacturing building, down 71%; and institutional building, down 5%. 

Additional perspective comes from looking at twelve-month moving totals, in this case the twelve months ending April 2010 versus the twelve months ending April 2009.  On this basis, total construction is down 14%, as the result of this pattern by sector – nonresidential building, down 26%; and residential building, down 7%.  By region, the twelve months ending April 2010 showed the following behavior for total construction relative to the previous twelve months – the northeast, up 1%; the south Atlantic and south central, each down 14%; the west, down 16%; and the midwest, down 24%.
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Remember July 23 – Early Registration Deadline for IWF Atlanta

AWI will be out in force at IWF Atlanta, August 25-28, 2010, in Georgia. Attendees should take advantage of the registration and housing discounts offered prior to July 23. Remember that date and act early to benefit.

If you register before July 23, 2010, the cost is $20 per badge and the badge is good for all four days of the show. AWI members, however, receive a bigger discount an additional $5 discount off the price. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

After the July 23, 2010 early registration deadline, the cost is $25 per badge.

To assure you receive your housing preference for IWF Atlanta, use this association member link to arrange for accommodations. AWI members should use the special access codes (Log in = IWF; password = AWI) to reserve housing (not IWF registration).

Technical Conference Sessions
The cost for attending the Technical Conference sessions at IWF 2010 is $45 for registrations made before July 23, 2010 and $55 for registrations made after the July 23, 2010 early registration deadline.  You must register for a show badge to attend any Technical Conference session. This registration fee is uniform for all attendees – no additional discounts are available.

For attendees, IWF has scheduled 21 seminars in six tracks, including the AWI presentation of "LEED® - Green - Sustainable Woodwork" on Thursday, August 26, 1:00 - 2:30 pm.

This program explores the relationships between the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™ of the U.S. Green Building Council project specifications and the use of wood and wood products. It is intended for general-level design professionals, end-use customers, and woodworkers who are unfamiliar with the LEED® requirements. The concept of LEED® points or credits are related to AWI’s support of sustainable architecture and the use of wood, nature’s renewable resource.  Attendees take home an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of using FSC-certified materials. The program reviews green lumber, panel products, veneers, and doors.

Click here for Information on all the educational tracks.

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Green Scene

Forest Stewardship Council Applauds Boreal Forest Agreement

The 72 million hectacre Boreal Forest Agreement announced earlier this month has "big implications for the U.S. forest products marketplace," says the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

In an open letter to the FSC Community, the FSC states "In the agreement, the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) committed to ‘the highest environmental standards of forest management,’ setting ‘on-the-ground application of the existing Forest Stewardship Council National Boreal Standards’ as the benchmark for ecosystem-based forest management."

In his open letter, Corey Brinkema, President of FSC-US, includes an initial analysis of what the agreement means to FSC and FSC certificate holders.

To view the agreement, click here for the FPAC press release. To see the FSC open letter, visit its Web site by clicking here.
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Did You Know...about the AWS?

By Shows Leary, AWI Quality Certification Program Inspector

Familiarity with the AWI Architectural Woodwork Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) can no longer be relied on in woodwork project specifications where the Architectural Woodwork Standards introduced in August 2009 supercede the QSI. Don’t assume the standards are the same. Learn about stile and rail cabinet door and flush door layouts.

As a service to architectural woodworkers, we will report about some of the differences between the QSI and AWS in each issue of AWI e-briefs to help members educate themselves about the changes.

Stile and Rail Cabinet Door and Flush Door Layouts

On pages 251 and 252 of the AWS, item 1.2.19 we see a layout of typical stile and rail and flush cabinet doors. In the AWS there are a few changes to the stile and rail layout compared to the QSI which did not address stile and rail visible veneer grain orientation.

In item you can see there are two (2) types of stile and rail layouts. The elevation on the right shows the traditional layout where the doors and drawers get stiles and rails. New to the AWS is the allowance of the elevation on the left which allows for stiles and rails on the doors only while the drawers receive the flush appearance of no stiles or rails. Either layout is acceptable for all three Grades.

Another difference is that the grain on the drawers can run horizontal if used with stiles and rails, or vertical if used in a flush manner. This applies to all three grades of Premium, Custom and Economy. As you will recall, in the QSI, page 133, item 400A-T-1, Premium Grade cabinets required vertical orientation of all grained components. Custom Grade allowed a mix of vertical and horizontal grain orientation. Stile and rail grain orientation was not addressed in the QSI and is clarified in the AWS.

Another difference between the QSI and the AWS is that for Custom Grade flush doors and drawers the requirement is the same as for Premium Grade in that the grain for both the drawers and doors are to run vertically.

By the way, in both the QSI and the AWS the minimum width of stiles and rails is 2 1/2" wide by 3/4" thick. Because this can affect the visible veneer in drawer fronts, grain orientation can be important to work out on the shop drawings so the architect is clear about what to expect.

About the author: Shows Leary has been an AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP) inspector since 1996. He has served as QCP's Regional Representative and as a member of the Quality Certification Corporation Board of Directors and Board of Appeals. He is an alternate member of the AWI Technical Committee. Contact Shows Leary at shows@showsleary.com.

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) makes every effort to ensure that published information is accurate and current. Neither AWI, nor any content contributor, officer, or employee of AWI warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published in AWI NewsBriefs and/or AWI e-briefs, nor endorses any products, services or other information resources linked from AWI’s editorial content and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of the information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at their own risk.
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AWS Errata Web Site – Check for Latest Changes

The AWI Technical Committee reminds members about Errata published – and changing continually – for the Architectural Woodwork Standards. See the latest changes.

AWI members are reminded that the Errata List is a living document and should be checked frequently for changes in the AWS. Don’t be caught using outdated information on your next project that specifies the AWS.

Many changes have been made since October 1, 2009 following publication of the First Edition of the AWS in August 2009. The Errata Web site is the ultimate source of information which is posted as AWS data changes.

Visit http://www.aws-errata.com/ for errors and corrections to the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) jointly produced and published by the three developers: AWI, the Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute (WI).

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Understanding & Marketing AWS: Upcoming Presentations

With the release of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS), members of the AWI Speakers Bureau, AWI chapters, staff and others are/will be making presentations to architectural woodworkers, architects, designers and contractors about the differences between the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated and AWS. Watch for news of special presentations in your area.

AWI Virginia Chapter
June 25, 2010
What: AWS & Lunch
Where: Hill City Chop House, Glenn Allen, VA
Information: Bruce Cody, bcody@arcwoodva.com 

The AWS is jointly produced by AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute (WI).
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Grateful Instructor Thanks Chapter for Support of Illinois SkillsUSA

A letter from an industrial education teacher at Oswego High School thanking the AWI Chicago Chapter for its support of the Illinois SkillsUSA State Cabinetmaking Contest states the case for continued support of educational institutions that are fostering tomorrow’s woodworkers.

Stephen C. Groth writes, "My high school program has greatly benefited from the insights I have gained working with AWI as I have been able to stay current on industry trends. Many of my students have dedicated countless hours developing the needed skills to compete. Their efforts this year resulted in the top four places in the secondary contest as well as the top spot in post-secondary."
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Federal Scene

Formaldehyde Legislation Passes House Committee

Following hearings in April (reported in AWI e-briefs on May 20th), the House Committee on Energy and Commerce voted favorably (27-10) to send H.R. 4805, the "Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products Act" to the full House of Representatives for action. Several amendments were added supported by the Composite Panel Association (CPA) and many other groups, according to CPA.

A coalition of industry organizations – CPA, American Forest & Paper Association AF&PA), American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), APA-The Engineered Wood Association, Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA), and the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) – negotiated with the committee staff to gain the final language in the bill.

One key amendment changes the promulgation deadline from January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013.

To view the final language in the legislation, click here to go to the House Energy & Commerce Committee. According to CPA, "The House bill passed on May 26th "is expected to be the version soon considered for final action by the U.S. Senate, substituting the version of S. 1660 that was reported from a Senate Committee late last year." Proponents hope that the House and Senate will ultimately pass the identical version of the bill. If not, the measures will have to go to a compromise committee to iron out the differences between the two. Stay tuned.
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Form Now Available to Claim Payroll Tax Exemption for Hiring New Workers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has posted on its Web site the newly-revised payroll tax form that most eligible employers can use to claim the special payroll tax exemption that applies to many new workers hired during 2010.

Designed to encourage employers to hire and retain new workers, the payroll tax exemption and the related new hire retention credit were created by the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act signed by President Obama on March 18.

Employers who hire unemployed workers this year (after February 3, 2010, and before January 1, 2011) may qualify for a 6.2% payroll tax incentive, in effect exempting them from the employer’s share of Social Security tax on wages paid to these workers after March 18. This reduction will have no effect on the employee’s future Social Security benefits. The employee’s 6.2% share of Social Security tax and the employer and employee’s shares of Medicare tax still apply to all wages.

In addition, for each qualified employee retained for at least a year whose wages did not significantly decrease in the second half of the year, businesses may claim a new hire retention credit of up to $1,000 per worker on their income tax return. Further details on both the tax credit and the payroll tax exemption can be found in a recently-expanded list of answers to frequently-asked questions about the new law now posted on IRS.gov.

How to Claim the Payroll Tax Exemption

Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, revised for use beginning with the second calendar quarter of 2010, will be filed by most employers claiming the payroll tax exemption for wages paid to qualified employees. The HIRE Act does not allow employers to claim the exemption for wages paid in the first quarter but provides for a credit in the second quarter. The instructions for the new Form 941 explain how this credit for wages paid from March 19 through March 31 can be claimed on the second quarter return. The form and instructions are now available for download on IRS.gov.

The HIRE Act requires that employers get a signed statement from each eligible new hire, certifying under penalties of perjury, that he or she was not employed for more than 40 hours during the 60 days before beginning employment with that employer. Employers can use new Form W-11, Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act Employee Affidavit, released last month, to meet this requirement. Though employers need this certification to claim both the payroll tax exemption and the new hire retention credit, they do not file these statements with the IRS. Instead, they must retain them along with other payroll and income tax records.

These two tax benefits are especially helpful to employers who are adding positions to their payrolls. New hires filling existing positions also qualify as long as they are replacing workers who left voluntarily or who were terminated for cause and otherwise are qualified employees. Family members and other relatives do not qualify for either of these tax benefits.

Businesses, agricultural employers, tax-exempt organizations, tribal governments and public colleges and universities all qualify to claim the payroll tax exemption for eligible newly-hired employees. Household employers and federal, state and local government employers, other than public colleges and universities, are not eligible.
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DOL Requires Posting of Employee Rights Regarding Rights to Organize & Bargain

Federal contractors and subcontractors must provide notice to their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act to organize and bargain collectively. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule in the May 20th edition of the Federal Register. The requirement becomes effective on June 21, 2010.

Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to post the prescribed employee rights notice at their workplaces. The notice lists employees' rights under the NLRA:

  • To form, join and assist a union and to bargain collectively with their employer; 
  • Provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct that interferes with those rights; and 
  • Indicates how employees can contact the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that enforces those rights, with questions or complaints.

The rule implements provisions of Executive Order 13496, which was signed by President Obama on January 30, 2009. The requirement for posting this employee notice must be included in every covered federal contract and subcontract.

Under the rule, employees will have the right to file complaints with the Department of Labor about contractors that do not comply with the prescribed requirements. Contractors that violate the requirements of the regulations may be subject to sanctions, including suspension or cancellation of the contract. Two Labor Department agencies, OLMS and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, are responsible for administering and enforcing the rule's requirements.

For more information, visit the OLMS Web site at www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/EO13496.htm

To view the "Employee Rights" poster, click here.

To view an OLMS Fact Sheet of contractor obligations, click here. It outlines exceptions to posting requirements; obtaining required posters, physical and electronic posting guidelines, acquiring translated posters, filing complaints alleging non-compliance, investigations and sanctions for non-compliance, and more.

Need compliance assistance? To attend a free Webinar conducted by the DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) for federal contractors and subcontractors concerning compliance, click here. The next Webinar will occur on June 10, 2010 from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm (EDT).
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OSHA Publishes NPRM to Prevent Injuries from Slips, Trips and Falls

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the May 24th Federal Register to require improved worker protection from tripping, slipping and falling hazards on walking and working surfaces. A public hearing on the revised changes will be held after the public comment period for the NPRM.

The NPRM describes revisions to the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment standards to help prevent an estimated annual 20 workplace fatalities and more than 3,500 injuries serious enough to cause people to miss work.

The current walking-working surfaces regulations allow employers to provide outdated and dangerous fall protection equipment such as lanyards and body belts that can result in workers suffering greater injury from falls. Construction and maritime workers already receive safer, more effective fall protection devices such as self-retracting lanyards and ladder safety and rope descent systems, which these proposed revisions would also require for general industry workers. The current walking-working surfaces standards also do not allow OSHA to fine employers who let workers climb certain ladders without fall protection. Under the revised standards, this restriction would be lifted in virtually all industries, allowing OSHA inspectors to fine employers who jeopardize their workers' safety and lives by climbing these ladders without proper fall protection.

Details are available in the Federal Register notice.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov

Comments, hearing requests, and other information must be submitted by August 23, 2010.
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Member News

Access Technology on Stiles Benchmarking Tour

Stiles Machinery is hosting a Benchmarking Tour, combining factory visit, the NeoCon trade show, and networking opportunities, June 15-18, 2010. This is the last chance to register to keep up-to-date about technology and how it’s shaping the industry’s global competition.

For more details, click here. The registration fee includes transportation via bus, flight costs, parking, lodging and meals for the event. Contact Amanda Dombek at Stiles (616.698.7500 ext. 1327), if you wish to participate.

Stiles Machinery has been an AWI Supplier Member since 1996.
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Biesse Hosts One2One Event

The Biesse 2010 Summer One2One Event is taking place in the Biesse Charlotte, NC headquarters June 10 and June 11 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

A selection of the firm’s machinery will be on display in its showroom with many of its largest and newest models under power and ready to demo. In addition, Biesse is offering a variety of educational seminars about the latest industry trends and technologies. Visit www.biesseamerica.com for more details.

To register, contact your local Biesse representative or call the Biesse Marketing Office at 704.409.7766.

Biesse has been an AWI Supplier Member since 1995.
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Chapter News

Upcoming Chapter Events

What’s happening in your local AWI chapters and architectural woodwork communities?

Check out the informative AWI chapter programs sponsored in your area. Tap into your local AWI chapter for vital information that can help your business grow and put you in touch with fellow AWI architectural woodworkers and suppliers.

AWI Arizona Chapter
When: June 8, 2010
What: Lunch Meeting (Review of SkillsUSA Competition, AWI Leadership Meetings, AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars; Defining Future Chapter Goals; Roundtable about Business Challenges)
Host: Ed (Shorty) Neilander, Luis and Company
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Chicago Chapter
When: June 10, 2010
What: Golf Outing
Where: St. Andrews Golf & Country Club
Information & Questions: Click here 

AWI New Jersey Chapter 
When: June 10, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting and "Closing the Deal" Presentation
Special Guest: AWI National President Doug Carney, R & S Casework, Inc.
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Wisconsin Chapter
When: June 11, 2010
What: Meeting and Tour of Milwaukee Tool
Where: Milwaukee, WI
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Georgia Chapter
When: June 15, 2010
What: Chapter Board of Directors Meeting
Where: Insidesign
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Great Lakes Chapter
When: June 16, 2010
What: Chapter Board of Directors Meeting
Where: Daiek Woodworks
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI New England Chapter
When: June 17, 2010 (2:00 – 6:00 pm) – Repeated July 22nd
What: AutoCAD Training Seminar, Session Two (Creating and Inserting Blocks; Orthogonal Drawing; Creating a Millwork Detail; Layout Space & Plotting)
Presenter: Joe Fiorello, Author of CAD for Interiors Basics and CAD for Interiors beyond the Basics
Where: Porter and Chester Institute, Canton, MW
Registration: $50; tye.waller@neawi.org 
Questions: Jfiorello@fadstudios.com 

AWI Texas Chapter 
When: June 17-18, 2010
What: General Meeting and Program – "Advertising & Marketing: How to Impact the Bottom Line"
Where: Sheraton South Padre Island Beach Hotel & Condominiums, South Padre, TX
Information: Details on chapter Web site (Registration ends June 3rd.) 

AWI Iowa-Nebraska Chapter
When: June 18, 2010
What: Meeting at DMAC
Sponsor: Stiles Machinery
Information: Contact Chapter Officers  

AWI Empire State Chapter
When: June 24, 2010
What: Meeting
Special Guest: AWI National Director Skip Heidler
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI New England Chapter
When: June 24, 2010 (11:00 am - 5:00 pm)
What: Product Fair & Vendor Expo 
Where: The Newburyport Elks #909 Lodge, Newburyport, MA
Information: Click here for a list of exhibitors, sponsorship information, and registration.
Questions: kevin@keiver-willard.com
; tye.waller@neawi.org

AWI Heart of America Chapter
When: June 24, 2010
What: Judging of SkillsUSA Competition
Where: Wichita, KS
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Missouri/Illinois Chapter
When: June 24, 2010
What: Meeting
Special Guest: AWI Past President Ed Brewer, Louisville Lumber & Millwork
Where: St. Louis, MO
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Virginia Chapter
When: June 25, 2010 (corrected time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm)
What: Chapter Reorganization Meet & Greet and Meeting (program about AWS; discussion about chapter direction)
Special Guest: AWI National President-Elect Robert Stout, RLS Commercial Interiors, Inc.
Where: Hill City Chop House, Glen Allen, VA
Information and RSVP: AWI National Past President Bruce Cody, bcody@arcwoodva.com 

AWI Florida Chapter
When: June 26, 2010 (7:30 am – 5:00 pm)
What: Dual Track Program: 1) "Software for Woodworkers: Vendor Showcase"; and 2) "Software for Woodworkers: AutoCAD for Woodworkers"
Presenters: Paul Hansen, E-Template System; Russ Rucks, Roger Shaw & Associates (Microvellum); Mark Stearns, Taskklock, Inc.; Norman Fink, Trakware Systems, Inc.; and Christopher McVey, Resource Engineering, Inc.
Where: Renaissance Plantation Hotel, Plantation, FL
Information: See attached flyer for details and registration fees and deadlines 
Questions: Chapter President/Treasurer Phyllis Thornberg, 813.977.6683 (p); phyllis@lyndan.com 

AWI New England Chapter
When: July 8, 2010 (2:00 – 6:00 pm)
What: AutoCAD Training, Session One (The AutoCAD Interface and AutoCAD Settings)
Presenter: Joe Fiorello, Author of CAD for Interiors Basics and CAD for Interiors beyond the Basics
Where: Porter and Chester Institute, Canton, MW
Registration: $50; tye.waller@neawi.org
Questions: Jfiorello@fadstudios.com 

AWI Heart of America Chapter
When: July 15, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting
Hosted by: Technique Manufacturing
Where: Hutchinson, KS
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
When: July 16, 2010 (8:00 am) 
What: Golf Outing
Where: Legendary Run Golf Course, Cincinnati, OH
Information & Registration:  See attached
Questions: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI New England Chapter
When: July 22, 2010 (2:00 – 6:00 pm)
What: AutoCAD Training, Session Two (Creating and Inserting Blocks; Orthogonal Drawing; Creating a Millwork Detail; Layout Space & Plotting)
Presenter: Joe Fiorello, Author of CAD for Interiors Basics and CAD for Interiors beyond the Basics
Where: Porter and Chester Institute, Canton, MW
Registration: $50; tye.waller@neawi.org
Questions: Jfiorello@fadstudios.com

AWI Georgia Chapter
When: July 23, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting with Sherwin-Williams & LEED® Finishes
Special Guest: AWI National President-Elect Robert Stout, RLS Commercial Interiors, Inc.
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Iowa-Nebraska Chapter
When: July 23, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting & Summer Social
Where: Honey Creek / Sailing Social
Special Guest: AWI National President Doug Carney, R&S Casework, Inc.
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI New England Chapter
When: July 26, 2010
What: Annual Golf & Fishing Event
Where: Wentworth by the Sea & Fishing, Newburyport, MA
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Empire State Chapter
When: July 30-31, 2010
What: 2010 Summer AWI Professional Development Seminars
Program Host: AWI Empire State Chapter
Where: Albany, NY area
Information: Click here 

All chapters are encouraged to plan their events early to allow for ample promotion of your activities in this section of AWI e-briefs as well as through other avenues. Contact Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services at gbednar@awinet.org

Members are encouraged to check chapter event listings in the most recent issue of AWI e-briefs, as well as with chapter officers and chapter Web sites for program changes. As plans become finalized, dates and presentations may change for chapter programs previously listed. This issue of AWI e-briefs contains the most current information available to AWI National.

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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published June 17, 2010

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Founded in 1953, AWI is a nonprofit organization representing over 3,500 manufacturers, suppliers, and design professionals in the architectural woodwork industry.

AWI Mission:
The authoritative resource for excellence in architectural woodwork.

Copyright Architectural Woodwork Institute www.awinet.org


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