LATEST NEWS

AGC Files Comments Supporting NLRB’s Joint-Employer Rulemaking

AGC of America submitted comments supporting the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule on joint-employer status with certain clarifications January 28. The rule would reinstate a standard establishing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act only when a company actually exercises substantial direct and immediate control over essential terms and conditions of employment of another company’s employees and does so in a manner that is not limited and routine. It would reverse the AGC-opposed Browning-Ferris Industries decision that was issued by the Obama Board in 2015 and recently upheld by a federal circuit court.

AGC’s comment letter supplements group comments signed onto by AGC that were filed by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. The group comments urge the Board to adopt the proposed rule with additional guidance to clarify the meaning of “substantial control” and relevant “essential terms and conditions of employment.”  AGC’s independent comments provide further insight into the impact of the proposed rule in the construction industry.  The letter explains how the reservation and exercise of some control by one company over another is inherent in the nature of construction projects and in well-established industry practices. “A contractor should be able to use and direct subcontractors without taking on joint-employer status as long as the contractor does not directly and excessively control essential terms and conditions of employment of the subcontractors’ employees,” AGC asserts in the letter.

The Board received a high volume of comments on the proposed rule during the public comment period, which is now closed. The timing of the Board’s issuance of a final rule is uncertain.

For more information, contact Denise Gold at goldd@agc.org or (703) 837-5326

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President Issues Buy-American Executive Order for Infrastructure Projects

On Jan. 31., President Trump issued the “Strengthening Buy American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects” Executive Order. The order calls on federal agencies to encourage recipients of new Federal financial assistance awards to use—to the greatest extent practicable—iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the U.S. in every contract, subcontract, purchase order, or sub-award. AGC will provide more details on this executive order after further review.

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

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The Dept. of Labor (DOL) Announces Civil Penalty Adjustments for 2019

On Jan. 23, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published the annual penalty adjustments for each agency, including OSHA, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The new penalty levels will apply to penalties assessed after January 23, 2019.  The new penalties amount to an increase of approximately 2.5% over the 2018 penalty levels. The table below shows the new maximum penalties for OSHA.

Type of Violation New Maximum
§ Serious
§ Other-Than-Serious
§ Posting Requirements
 
$13,260 per violation
 
Willful or Repeated $132,598 per violation
 
Failure to Abate $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org.
 
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OSHA Rescinds Part of the Electronic Recordkeeping Rule

In Line with AGC Recommendations
On Jan. 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule amending the recordkeeping regulation by rescinding—in line with AGC recommendations—the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injuries and Illnesses Incident Report). AGC called for this amendment because (1) information in the Form 301 could lead to the public disclosure of individual employees’ identity and private health information; and (2) data included in the forms could unfairly characterize a construction contractor’s safety and health record. These establishments will continue to submit information from their OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) as has been required in 2017 and 2018.
For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org

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AGC In-House Environmental Managers Meeting | February 20, 2019 | Arlington, VA

Are you an environmental professional working at a general construction firm? Join your peers at the next AGC In-House Environmental Managers (IHEM) meeting on Feb. 20, 2019, at AGC’s Headquarters in Arlington, VA. The IHEM meeting creates a forum for greater peer-to-peer learning and interaction by facilitating a series of moderated roundtable discussions. You choose the topics in advance and then spend the day sharing first-hand experiences and discussing solutions to the challenges on your to-do lists. Visit the meeting site to register today.
Registration is open to professionals working in-house on environmental issues at general construction firms. To ensure active discussion/participation, space for this meeting is limited.  The registration fee of $199 covers breakfast items, lunch, and a reception. AGC has booked a room block with breakfast included at the Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza for $189 per night (plus tax and fees). Click here to book your hotel room online.
For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org or (703) 837-5401.

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AGC Urges Congress to Preserve & Strengthen Employer-Sponsored Health Care Coverage

AGC called upon all members of the new Congress to recognize the important voice employers have in debates about reforming our nation's health care system. Employer-sponsored coverage insures over 181 million American lives and has been the backbone of the U.S. health system for nearly eight decades. AGC believes that benefit offerings and coverage plans in the employer-sponsored system are as diverse as employers themselves and that there is no one-size-fits-all employer plan.
Specifically, AGC called on Congress to preserve the current tax treatment of employer-sponsored coverage, promote innovations and diversity of plan designs and offerings for employers, provide employers with compliance relief from burdensome regulations, repeal the Affordable Care Act taxes on employer-sponsored coverage, and protect ERISA.
For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or 202-547-0133 or Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.

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AGC Urges Infrastructure & Workforce be Included in State of the Union

Address to Congress on Hold Due to Partial Shutdown
AGC CEO Steve Sandherr earlier this month urged President Trump to offer bipartisan solutions to addressing our nation’s infrastructure—including fixing the Highway Trust Fund—and workforce skills gap.  Exactly when the President delivers the State of the Union remans in flux as he is thus far honoring Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) request to postpone the speech until the partial government shutdown has ended. In the meantime business continues, as it was reported earlier this week that the president huddled with about 20 officials—including Vice President Pence, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao—to discuss a potential infrastructure plan and whether to include details of it in the State of the Union address.
AGC is encouraged by news of such a discussion and will continue to urge the president to include infrastructure and workforce in the State of the Union, while working with Congress to move forward on both issues.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.

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Treasury Issues Final “Pass-Through Deduction” Regulations

On Jan. 18, the Treasury Department issued final regulations on the “Section 199A deduction” (often called the pass-through business deduction or the qualified business income deduction). The deduction, which provided tax relief for construction firms organized as pass-through entities (as opposed to those organized as C-Corporations, whose tax rate was reduced to 21 percent), allows those businesses that qualify to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income until the end of 2026, when the provision expires. In the final regulations, Treasury agreed to some of AGC's recommendations, and disagreed with others. Overall, AGC feels confident that construction firms will have wide use of the new deduction, allowing pass-through firms to receive significant tax relief when they file their taxes later this year. A comprehensive summary of the regulations can be found here.
For additional information, please contact Matthew Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org pr (202) 547-4733.

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Senate Votes to Reopen the Government Fail

On Jan. 24, two bills that would end the partial government shutdown failed to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to advance in the Senate.  The first bill—failing on a 52-44 vote—would have funded currently shutdown federal agencies for three weeks to allow federal workers to receive their last two paychecks while Congress and the White House continued negotiations on a permanent solution. The AGC-backed second bill—failing on a 50-47 vote—would have: (1) extended work authorizations for three years for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) holders, which include approximately 120,000 construction workers; (2) funded approximately $7 billion in disaster-aid construction project funding; (3) provided a $10 billion increase over FY 2017 annual funding levels for federal infrastructure programs, including $5.3 billion more for highways, $1 billion more transit, and $500 million more for airports; and (4) provided $5.7 billion for border security infrastructure.
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or (703) 837-5325.

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AGC In-House Environmental Managers Meeting | February 20, 2019 | Arlington, VA

Are you an environmental professional working at a general construction firm? Join your peers at the next AGC In-House Environmental Managers (IHEM) meeting on Feb. 20, 2019, at AGC’s Headquarters in Arlington, VA. The IHEM meeting creates a forum for greater peer-to-peer learning and interaction by facilitating a series of moderated roundtable discussions. You choose the topics in advance and then spend the day sharing first-hand experiences and discussing solutions to the challenges on your to-do lists. Visit the meeting site to register today.
Registration is open to professionals working in-house on environmental issues at general construction firms. To ensure active discussion/participation, space for this meeting is limited.  The registration fee of $199 covers breakfast items, lunch, and a reception. AGC has booked a room block with breakfast included at the Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza for $189 per night (plus tax and fees). Click here to book your hotel room online.
For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org or (703) 837-5401.

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