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On Sept. 26, ABC, as a steering committee member of the Coalition for Workplace Safety, and 40 other employer organizations sent a letter to the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections calling out the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for its Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process proposed rulemaking and the politicization of the agency that the rulemaking exemplifies. The proposed rule would allow an employee to choose a third-party representative, such as an outside union representative, to accompany an OSHA inspector into nonunion facilities.

ABC has prepared a summary of Biden administration regulatory actions of interest to ABC members by agency.

On Sept. 29, ABC submitted comments with a coalition of industry stakeholders to the Council on Environmental Quality in response to a proposed rule regarding Phase 2 of revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act implementing regulations. The proposal would make wide-ranging changes that will add unnecessarily burdensome and costly provisions to the federal environmental review and permitting process.

Without a deal to pass a stop-gap funding measure by Oct. 1, President Joe Biden will face the first federal government shutdown of his administration. ABC has put together a series of helpful documents to guide federal contractors through a shutdown and the suspension of federal construction operations.

Associated Builders and Contractors would like to congratulate Graham Roofing Inc. of West Point, Mississippi, a member of ABC's Mississippi Chapter, for successfully earning the Accredited Quality Contractor credential. The AQC program recognizes and honors construction firms that document their commitment to excellence in key areas of corporate responsibility: quality, safety, craft and management education, talent management and community relations. A company that meets the criteria set forth in the program and has earned STEP Gold, Platinum or Diamond status in ABC’s safety management system is formally designated an Accredited Quality Contractor.

On Sept. 25, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a new initiative, the Respirable Crystalline Silica Focused Inspection Initiative in the Engineered Stone Fabrication and Installation Industries. The initiative supplements OSHA’s current National Emphasis Program for Respirable Crystalline Silica and prioritizes federal OSHA inspections in workplaces where workers are typically exposed to high levels of silica, Cut Stone and Stone Product Manufacturing (NAICS Code 327991) and Brick, Stone and Related Construction Material Merchant Wholesalers (NAICS Code 423320).

ABC is conducting an important survey of contractor members to gauge opinions and experiences with the Inflation Reduction Act’s prevailing wage and government-registered apprenticeship requirements on clean energy tax credits. Ensuring as many members as possible respond to this survey will be vital to providing effective, informed comments seeking regulatory clarity and pushing back on concerning aspects of a recent Internal Revenue Service proposed rule.

On Sept. 20, the Biden administration through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expanded the Temporary Protected Status program for Venezuelan migrants, qualifying an estimated 472,000 Venezuelans for TPS over the next 18 months for individuals who entered the United States before July 31, 2023.

Modern day top leadership engagement is continuing to trend away from the traditional command-and-control approach. Far from the “I think it, you do it” model, the total human health approach to top management is all about leadership—curious, engaged and relational. Safety isn’t left to chance or considered the responsibility of just the safety director; safety is managed and led just like every other operation in the company, from accounts receivable to customer experience.

ABC is conducting an important survey of contractor members to gauge opinions and experiences with the Inflation Reduction Act’s prevailing wage and government-registered apprenticeship requirements on clean energy tax credits. Ensuring as many members as possible respond to this survey will be vital to providing effective, informed comments seeking regulatory clarity and pushing back on concerning aspects of a recent Internal Revenue Service proposed rule.

Construction Inclusion Week takes place every October and is an invitation to the construction workforce to unite to advance a sense of belonging for all. ABC has planned four webinars for Oct. 16-20, 2023, with industry professionals and community leaders who are excited to share their knowledge and experience—and help you improve inclusivity in your personal and professional life.

On Sept. 7, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s final rule on the Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, which would mandate anti-competitive and inflationary project labor agreements on large-scale federal construction contracts, arrived at the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review. This is the final step before the rule will be published in the Federal Register and take effect.

ABC has prepared a summary of Biden administration regulatory actions of interest to ABC members by agency.

On Aug. 18, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that it was issuing interim guidance regarding the 8(a) Business Development Program as a result of a court ruling that affects the program’s determination of social disadvantage. According to the SBA’s website, the SBA has temporarily suspended new 8(a) application submissions to comply with the district court’s decision.

On Aug. 30, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new proposed rulemaking that would alter overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The proposal increases the minimum salary level threshold to $55,068 annually for a full-year worker and automatically updates the threshold every three years.

Despite being litigated for years, the Biden administration’s National Labor Relations Board has revived controversial policy from the Obama era in the form of its Representation-Case Procedures final rule. The direct final rule, issued without notice and the opportunity to comment, essentially restores provisions of the “ambush” election rule of 2014 and rescinds the remaining ABC-supported provisions of the 2019 final rule. The rule will apply to representation petitions filed on or after Dec. 26, 2023, and employers will have less time to respond to representation petitions.

On Aug. 29, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Internal Revenue Service released a proposed rule and FAQs on provisions of the ABC-opposed Inflation Reduction Act, which will affect the developers, contractors and workers that are building clean energy projects eligible for more than $270 billion in federal tax credits.

On Aug. 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers issued a final rule and fact sheet regarding amendments to the definition of “waters of the United States” subject to Clean Water Act regulation. This rule is aimed at bringing the January 2023 WOTUS final rule into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 25 decision in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency.

Associated Builders and Contractors today announced its opposition to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announcement of a proposed rule, Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process. The proposed rule would allow an employee to choose a third-party representative, such as an outside union representative, to accompany an OSHA inspector into nonunion facilities.

On Aug. 25, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued its decision in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC, which imposes a new framework that greatly expands the Board’s ability to impose unions on employees without a secret ballot election. The Board’s decision overrules precedent that has stood for over half a century.

Despite being litigated for years, the Biden administration’s National Labor Relations Board has revived controversial policy from the Obama era in the form of its Representation-Case Procedures final rule. The direct final rule, issued without notice and the opportunity to comment, essentially restores provisions of the “ambush” election rule of 2014 and rescinds the remaining ABC-supported provisions of the 2019 final rule. The rule will apply to representation petitions filed on or after Dec. 26, 2023.

On Aug. 23, the U.S. Department of Labor officially published its final rule, Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations, in the Federal Register. The regulation’s drastic revisions to existing rules regarding government-determined prevailing wage rates that must be paid to construction workers on federal and federally assisted construction projects funded by taxpayers will now take effect on Oct. 23.

ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck was recently interviewed on Fox News’ “America Reports” explaining the construction industry’s labor shortage and how that will affect the massive injection of capital into infrastructure under recently passed legislation.

Equipment of any kind needs to be accompanied by training, evaluation, inspection, follow-up and, most importantly, an operator who understands the potential hazards and carries out their duties in a safe manner. Safety is everyone’s responsibility throughout the entire organization, and everyone needs to be fully and thoughtfully engaged. Proper training, culture and mindset is the key to success and lower incidence rates.

On Aug. 14, the Office of Management and Budget announced final guidance to revise OMB’s Guidance for Grants and Agreements. This guidance defines the rules for federal agencies as they distribute funding through grant programs and other financial assistance. The revisions would aid implementation of the Build America, Buy America Act provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This guidance finalizes a proposal issued by the OMB on Feb. 9.  

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