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ABC believes that employees and employers should have the right to determine wages and working conditions, through either individual or collective bargaining, as they choose, within the boundaries of the law. The employer must have concern for the general welfare of the employee and there must be fair compensation for work performed. By the same token, we believe that the employee has an obligation for satisfactory performance of assigned work.

ABC supports sound legislation in the areas of labor relations, immigration, safety and other areas of employment. Legislation that embraces fair play for both employer and employee is essential to the preservation of our free enterprise system. The law should protect the right of employees to work regardless of race, color, creed, age, sex, national origin, membership or non-membership in a labor organization or other protected class.



Senate HELP Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing on Secretary of Labor Nominee R. Alexander Acosta

On March 22, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a confirmation hearing on the nomination of R. Alexander Acosta to serve as United States Secretary of labor. President Trump nominated Acosta to head the U.S. Department of Labor On Feb. 16. Acosta’s nomination must be approved by the HELP Committee before the full Senate can vote on his nomination. 

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The Latest on the Trump Administration: Feb. 16 – 22

On Feb. 16, President Trump announced R. Alexander Acosta as his nominee for Secretary of Labor. Acosta is currently the dean of the Florida International University College of Law and previously served as an assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division and as a member of the National Labor Relations Board.  His nomination followed Andy Puzder’s withdrawal from the confirmation process.

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R. Alexander Acosta Nominated to Serve as Secretary of Labor After Puzder Withdraws

On Feb. 15, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, former CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder, withdrew from consideration of the position. Prior to his withdrawal, Puzder was slated to appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for a hearing on Thursday Feb. 16. 

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National Labor Relations Board

The five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is tasked with interpreting and enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The agency is supposed to serve as a neutral arbiter of federal labor law, but over the last eight years it promoted the narrow policy goals of politically powerful unions.

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Overview
As the economy recovers, companies likely will face a shortage of qualified workers—both craft professionals and legal laborers. Legal immigrants currently do and have for a long time played a vital role in our construction workforce. Unfortunately, current immigration laws disproportionately affect construction companies due to their fluctuating work needs.

Any successful reform measure must work to ensure the enforcement of our laws, the security of our borders and the prosperity of our economy. Immigration reform will fail without a legal channel allowing willing and essential foreign workers the opportunity to work legally in this country.

Department of Labor Announces Hiring Program for Veterans

President Trump recently signed the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017, or HIRE Vets Act, which directs the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to establish the HIRE Vets Medallion Program. The goal of the program is to reward employers who hire veterans and who support the veteran community.

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House Passes ABC-supported American Health Care Act

The U.S. House of Representatives took steps to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by passing H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on May 4. H.R. 1628 repeals several of the most harmful and burdensome provisions of the ACA, including the employer mandate penalty, costly tax increases and limitations on contributions to and restrictions on the use of flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. ABC sent a letter in support of H.R. 1628 to the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed the House by a vote of 217-213. The bill now awaits action in the U.S. Senate.

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House Passes ABC-supported Bill to Provide Workplace Flexibility

On May 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (H.R. 1180), which would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector. The bill passed by a vote of 229-197.

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DOL Issues Paid Sick Leave Final Rule for Federal Contractors

On Sept. 30, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division issued a final rule requiring certain federal contractors to offer employees up to seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave annually, including paid leave for family care.  The paid sick leave required by the final rule is in addition to a contractor’s obligations under the Service Contract Act (SCA) and Davis-Bacon Act (DBA).  Therefore, a contractor may not receive credit toward its prevailing wage or fringe benefit obligation under the SCA and DBA for paid sick leave provided in satisfaction of the requirements of the final rule. 

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ABC Files Comments on New Paid Sick Leave Requirement for Fed Contractors

On April 12, ABC submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department (DOL) of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s proposed rule on establishing paid sick leave for federal contractors. The proposed rule requires certain federal contractors to offer employees up to seven days of paid sick leave annually, including paid leave for family care. The paid sick leave required by the proposal is in addition to a contractor’s obligations under the Service Contract Act (SCA) and Davis-Bacon Act (DBA). Therefore, a contractor may not receive credit toward its prevailing wage or fringe benefit obligation under the SCA and DBA for paid sick leave provided in satisfaction of the requirements of the proposed rule.

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ABC Comments on EEOC’s Proposed Revisions to the EEO-1 Report

On April 1, ABC submitted comments in response to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed revisions to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1), which would require employers with 100 or more employees to provide data on W-2 pay and hours worked, beginning in 2017. ABC urged the EEOC to withdraw the proposal because it imposes an unjustified burden on employers, fails to generate useful and reliable information to combat pay discrimination, and fails to protect the confidentiality of the information. 

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Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are an important part of the construction industry due to its fluctuating work demands and are often the answer to a pressing demand for the special skills and know-how required for short-term projects.

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Right to Secret Ballot Election

All workers, in every industry, deserve the fundamental American right to a federally supervised secret ballot election. This right is guaranteed when voting in political elections; there is no reason it should be surrendered in the workplace.

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Trump Administration Approves Keystone XL Pipeline Permit

On March 24, the U.S. Department of State signed a permit approving the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship crude from Canada's western oil-sands region to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The memorandum invited TransCanada to re-submit its application for a presidential permit for the construction of the 1,600-mile pipeline and requested that the State Department reach a final permitting decision within 60 days.

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Missouri Becomes 28th Right to Work State

On Feb. 6, Missouri became the 28th Right to Work state in the country and the sixth state to take action since 2012 after Gov. Eric Greitens (R-Mo.) signed ABC-supported legislation, SB 19. ABC’s Heart of America chapter thanked the governor and key members of the legislature for their leadership in allowing workers to freely decide whether to join a labor union, a policy that will benefit all of Missouri.

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Court Rejects ABC’s Challenge to Ambush Rule

On June 10, 2016, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision rejecting ABC’s challenge to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial “ambush” election final rule.  ABC General Counsel Maury Baskin of Littler Mendelson P.C., Washington, D.C., argued the case on behalf of ABC of Texas, the Central Texas Chapter of ABC and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Texas on March 3 in New Orleans. 

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ABC Slams Persuader Rule: DOL Proposal Designed to Silence Employers

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today issued the following statement in response to the release of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final “persuader rule.” The rule will greatly limit the ability of employers, particularly small businesses, to obtain advice from labor relations experts, and in turn deprive employees of their right to obtain balanced information about union representation.

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West Virginia Enacts Prevailing Wage Repeal and Right to Work

On Feb. 12, the West Virginia Legislature voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s vetoes of  a prevailing wage repeal bill and the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, making West Virginia the 26th Right to Work state in the country and the fourth state to pass Right to Work since 2012. 

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DOL “Persuader” Final Rule

On March 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a new rule designed to eviscerate employers’ rights to free speech, freedom of association and legal counsel. Known as the “persuader” rule, this change will have a profound chilling effect on labor relations advice for employers, and in turn deprive employees of their right to obtain balanced information about union representation.

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Right to Secret Ballot Election

All workers, in every industry, deserve the fundamental American right to a federally supervised secret ballot election. This right is guaranteed when voting in political elections; there is no reason it should be surrendered in the workplace.

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Right to Work

Right to Work laws guarantee workers can seek employment without fearing they will be required to join (or pay) a union if they are hired.

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Salting Abuse

Salting is not merely an organizing tool—it has become an instrument of economic destruction aimed at nonunion companies.

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Beck Rights/Paycheck Protection

Beck rights, also known as “paycheck protection,” provide workers an opportunity to decide if their compulsory union dues can be used for non-collective bargaining purposes, such as political activities.

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OSHA Rescinds "Union Walk Around Rule”

On April 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum withdrawing a letter of interpretation that stated nonunion employees can authorize an individual “affiliated with a union or a community organization” to act as their representative during agency-sanctioned inspections and other enforcement situations.

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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). 

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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. 

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Associated Builders and Contractors Files Suit Against ‘Blacklisting’ Rule

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and its ABC Southeast Texas Chapter announced that they have filed a lawsuit challenging the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule, commonly referred to as the “blacklisting” rule, which was released Aug. 25, 2016. The legal challenge was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division, by the Texas office of Littler Mendelson, P.C., ABC National’s general counsel. The firm will represent ABC, the ABC Southeast Texas Chapter and the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO) in the lawsuit.

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Two-Year Budget Deal Signed by President Obama Carries Implications for Contractors

President Obama Nov. 2 signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314), which suspended the application of the debt limit until March 2017 and ensured that the United States would meet its financial obligations. The deal was approved by a bi-partisan group of legislators the Unites States Senate Oct. 30 and the House of Representatives on Oct. 28. 

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OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction Rule in Full Effect

Employers can now be cited for not complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) confined spaces in construction final rule. A temporary enforcement policy of not issuing citations--provided employers made good-faith efforts to comply--expired on Oct. 2. 

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OSHA Releases Guide on Safety and Health Training For Workers

OSHA Aug. 4 released a guide titled, “Training Requirements in OSHA Standards,” that compiles information related to the agency’s mandatory safety and health training for workers into a 266-page document that is divided into five chapters, including one focused on construction safety training.

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OSHA Issues New Employer Recordkeeping Proposal

OSHA July 29 issued a proposed rule clarifying an employer’s continuing obligation to make and maintain accurate records of reportable injuries and illnesses.

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OSHA Reform

Exceptional jobsite safety and health practices are inherently good for business. Unfortunately, over the last eight years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) placed an emphasis on over-zealous enforcement along with burdensome and unnecessary rulemakings. Under a new administration, we hope OSHA will focus on collaborative efforts with employers to make workplaces safer. 

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ABC Supports Betsy DeVos’ Confirmation as Secretary of Education

On Jan. 9, ABC sent a letter to Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to encourage the swift confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the next United States Secretary of Education.

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Final Rule Issued on Revising EEO Framework for National Apprenticeship Act

On Dec. 19, 2016, the Employment and Training Administration issued a final rule updating the equal employment opportunity regulations that implement the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937 by amending 29 CFR Part 30. Current regulations prohibit discrimination in registered apprenticeship programs on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. The final rule updates the equal employment opportunity standards to include age (40 or older), genetic information, sexual orientation and disability among the protected base that cannot be discriminated against.

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Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 21– Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today released its annual update to “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard,” which reviews and grades state-specific policies and information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry. The scorecard highlights states that have created a free enterprise-based environment where merit shop contractors are well positioned to succeed and calls attention to states where strategic improvements need to be made.

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Workforce Development

The construction industry provides good, well-paying jobs to American workers every year. To qualify for many of these jobs, however, workers need high-quality, flexible skilled training.

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Apprenticeship/Job Training

ABC believes all American workers, regardless of labor affiliation, should enjoy equal access to critical job training.

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