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Jeff Leieritz's Articles

Claim Your Spot at the 2017 National Craft Championships

Intent to compete forms for the 2017 National Craft Championships are now available for ABC members and chapters who think their apprentices and craft trainees have what it takes to win the title of ABC National Craft Champion. The competition will take place Feb. 28 – March 3 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in conjunction with ABC’s Workforce Conference. Intent to compete forms are due Dec. 1, 2016. 

The Weitz Company Earns AQC Designation

The Weitz Company of Minneapolis, Minn., a member of ABC’s Minnesota/North Dakota chapter, has been awarded Accredited Quality Contractor (AQC) status by ABC. The AQC program recognizes and honors construction firms that document their commitment to excellence in five key areas of corporate responsibility: quality, safety, employee benefits, training and community relations. A company that meets the criteria set forth in the program, and has earned Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) Gold, Platinum or Diamond status, is formally designated an “Accredited Quality Contractor.”      

Increase in Penalties Begins in August

Due to a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, all agencies with civil monetary penalties covered by the statute have the authority to raise penalties annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Some agencies affected by this increase include DOL, EPA and OSHA. The provision also allows OSHA to have a one-time “catch-up adjustment” in 2016 since the fines have not increased since 1990.

ABC Files Preliminary Injunction Against Anti-retaliation Provisions of OSHA’s Electronic Reporting Final Rule

ABC, TEXO and a coalition of stakeholders filed suit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule on Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, commonly referred to as the “electronic injury reporting and anti-retaliation final rule” on July 8. The suit immediately challenges the anti-retaliation provisions of the final rule that will limit post-accident drug testing and safety programs that contribute to construction jobsite safety.

House Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Roll Back Harmful ACA Provisions

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Restoring Access to Medications Act (H.R. 1270 ) July 6, which would roll back a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires prescriptions for over-the-counter medications purchased under flexible spending arrangements and health savings accounts. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), passed the House 243-164  in a bi-partisan vote.

Country’s Largest Business-to-Business Event Convened by Asian Americans Held in Atlanta

Hundreds of top-caliber Asian American suppliers connected with serious buyers, industry leaders and visionaries at CelebrAsian Procurement Conference – the country’s largest business-to-business event convened by Pan Asian Americans to connect with large, medium and small enterprises – was held June 1-3, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta.

New Veterans Hiring Benchmark for Federal Contractors

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that the new annual hiring benchmark under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) is 6.9 percent, down slightly from 7 percent in 2015. The act requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain veterans.

EEOC Releases Final Rules on Employer Wellness Programs

On May 16, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released final rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) that address employer-sponsored wellness programs and financial inducements.  The rules specifically limit incentives for participation in programs that involve disability-related inquiries and/or medical examinations or require the disclosure of a spouse’s current or past health status information. 

EEOC Raises Fine for Noncompliance with Notice-posting Requirements

On June 2, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a final rule increasing the penalty for failure to post notices of worker rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act (GINA).  Under the final rule, the maximum fine for failure to comply with these notice-posting requirements rises from $210 to $525 per violation.  

Rules in the Pipeline at FAA, DOL Address Drones, Apprenticeship Programs

The administration released the latest regulatory agenda on May 18th which outlines the priorities in the in the coming months. Previously we outlined the upcoming OSHA rulemakings and those impacting federal contractors. Here are some additional rulemaking impacting the construction industry.