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Francis Lowe's Articles

Wisconsin Becomes the 23rd State to Ban PLA Mandates

ABC applauded Gov. Scott Walker for signing Act 3, which will promote fair and open competition on contracts for construction services funded by Wisconsin taxpayers, at event at an ABC member jobsite. The act will ensure that the government cannot mandate controversial project labor agreements (PLAs) on state, state-assisted and local construction projects and that merit shop contractors can compete for projects funded by their own tax dollars on a level playing field.

ABC Member Feedback Needed on Burdensome Regulations

Since taking office President Trump has made reforming our broken regulatory system a top priority. Through the use of executive orders, he has asked federal agencies to review and evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations on which regulations to repeal, replace or modify. The agencies will be putting out requests for comment from the public on certain federal regulations. ABC needs input from members on which regulations they would like to see repealed, replaced or modified. 

ABC National Chair Calls on Congress to End Government Mandated Project Labor Agreements

2017 ABC National Chair Chuck Goodrich’s op-ed calling on Congress to pass the Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1552/S. 622) was published in The Hill on April 10. This ABC-priority legislation would allow America's entire construction workforce—including the 86 percent of the private construction workforce that has chosen not to join a labor union—to compete on a level playing field by ensuring that taxpayer-funded construction cannot be subjected to costly and discriminatory government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs). 

Neil Gorsuch is Confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court

On April 10, Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court after being confirmed by a vote of 54 – 45 in the U.S. Senate. ABC supported his confirmation. The vote was along party lines; however, three Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (W.V.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), voted with the Republican majority to confirm Judge Gorsuch. 

OSHA Delays Enforcement of Silica Rule by Three Months

On April 6, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced they were delaying enforcement of the silica standard as it applies to the construction industry to September 23, 2017. The standard was set to go into effect June 23, 2017. On March 10, 2017, the ABC-led Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) sent a letter to the acting secretary of Labor requesting that the department delay enforcement of OSHA’s final silica rule by one year. 

ABC Members to U.S. Senate: Stop Historic, Partisan Supreme Court Filibuster

ABC urged Senators to vote to avoid a partisan filibuster and ensure that the U.S. Senate has the opportunity to vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court. ABC also informed Senators that it will consider the vote a key vote for its 115th Congressional Scorecard.

Suicide Prevention Events, Resources Available from Industry Alliance

The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention recently announced April summits in Southern California and Western Michigan to help provide resources and disseminate information on suicide prevention and mental health awareness in the construction industry. In addition, the CFMA-led alliance held a webinar Feb. 28 titled “Uniting the Construction Industry behind Suicide Prevention,” which is available on-demand for free for ABC members.

President Trump Signs Resolution to Eliminate Burdensome OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

ABC commended President Trump for signing a resolution into law eliminating the Obama administration’s controversial “Volks rule” (formally known as Clarification of an Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness final rule). The rule imposed a massive paperwork burden on contractors without improving jobsite safety. Congress passed the resolution through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). 

OSHA Issues Final Rule on Beryllium Exposure

On Jan. 9, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule on beryllium exposure. In the final rule, OSHA includes the construction industry; this was expanded from the proposed stage which focused on general industry. Beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in a number of industries. 

OFCCP Announces 2017 Veterans Hiring Benchmark for Federal Contractors

On March 31, 2017, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) updated its Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act Benchmark Database to reflect a new hiring benchmark of 6.7 percent.  The new benchmark is slightly lower than the previous year’s benchmark of 6.9 percent.