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On Sept. 26, U.S. Senate leadership announced there will not be a vote on the latest version of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill. Named after its four sponsors, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill aimed to repeal parts of the ACA and change its federal funding system with annual block grants to states to help individuals pay for health care.

ABC is encouraging all members that have not done so already to take action and submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on their proposal to rescind their 2015 final Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States," also known as the WOTUS final rule, and re-codify the regulations that existed prior to the 2015 rule.

On Sept. 25, ABC submitted comments to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on its Request for Information on the 2016 overtime final rule, officially named the Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees. ABC also filed comments with a coalition of business groups and other stakeholders as a member of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity.

On Sept. 15, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor published a notice in the Federal Register that the minimum wage for federal contractors will increase to $10.35 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

Enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) silica standard as it applies to the construction industry will begin on Sept. 23. On Sept. 20, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Galassi issued a memorandum on enforcement policy for the construction industry. 

Last week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018, which provides $1.1 trillion in discretionary funding for the federal government through 12 individual appropriations bills.

ABC is encouraging all members to take action and submit comments to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on its Request for Information (RFI) on the 2016 overtime final rule, officially named the Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees. The final rule, had it gone into effect,  would have changed the federal exemptions to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act for "white collar" workers by doubling the current minimum salary level for exemption from $23,660 to $47,476 per year and automatically increasing it every three years. The public has the opportunity to s

Enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s silica standard as it applies to the construction industry will begin on Sept. 23. The silica rule lowers the permissible exposure limit from the current standard of 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day, and an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air. In addition, the final rule requires contractors to follow several ancillary provisions, such as housekeeping and written exposure plans.

ABC’s strategic partner Autodesk, is offering a free pass to the Connect & Construct Summit—including hotel accommodations—for the first 50 ABC members who register. Every year, 10,000 professionals attend Autodesk University, which kicks off with the Connect & Construct Summit on Nov. 13. The Summit is a rare opportunity for contractors who are just beginning to explore BIM to learn how to improve productivity and collaboration with cutting-edge products from this construction software powerhouse.

On Sept. 19, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing for two nominees to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Janet Dhillon and Daniel Gade, Ph.D. Dhillon, who was nominated by President Trump on June 29, has served in executive and legal roles for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently as executive vice president of Burlington Coat Factory Investment Holdings.

On Sept. 16, President Trump nominated labor attorney Peter B. Robb to serve as General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Robb, who currently serves as the director of labor and employment at the law firm Downs Rachlin and Marin, previously served as chief counsel to former NLRB Member Robert Hunter (R) and as special labor counsel to the law firm Proskauer Rose from 1985 to 1995.

Cutler Associates Inc. of Worcester, Mass., a member of ABC’s Massachusetts 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.

On Aug. 29, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is initiating a review and immediate stay of the effectiveness of the pay data collection aspects of the Employer Information Report or EEO-1 form that was revised on Sept. 29, 2016, under the Obama administration.  

ABC Greater Baltimore President and CEO Mike Henderson was recently invited to testify before a congressional subcommittee seeking answers on how to address declining employment among working-age men. He pointed to the chapter’s Project JumpStart, widely regarded as the most effective workforce development program of its kind in the region, as part of the solution. The program not only trains workers for high-paying careers in construction, but places graduates in professional jobs with dozens of area employers in commercial construction. 

On Aug. 31, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted a motion for summary judgment against the U.S. Department of Labor’s burdensome and costly overtime rule and converted his earlier preliminary injunction (issued Nov. 22, 2016) to a permanent injunction. ABC participated in the business coalition that achieved this outcome, and ABC General Counsel Maury Baskin of Littler Mendelson P.C. filed the successful motion for summary judgment.  

Last month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a schedule of meetings that will offer the public the chance to discuss the definition of “Waters of the United States (WOTUS).” Following a proposal to rescind the Obama-era WOTUS rule in July, EPA and the Corps published a notice in the Federal Register on Aug. 28.

On Sept. 18, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require employers to use the revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, with a revision date of 07/17/17 N. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

SouthCon Building Group LLC of Mount Pleasant, S.C., a member of ABC’s Carolinas 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.

We have all been affected by the scenes that continue to unfold of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit our country.  When the flood waters recede, ABC contractor members and their employees will be asked to help rebuild Houston and other communities along the Texas Gulf Coast.  

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