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Francis Lowe's Articles

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. 

2017 Craft Professional of the Year Receives Ram Truck

Adam Ruff of Ely, Iowa, field supervisor at Price Electric, received a brand-new 2017 Ram Tradesman Crew Cab truck from Pat McGrath Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in March. The truck is one of the prizes awarded to the 2017 ABC Craft Professional of the Year, which is presented annually to a construction craft professional who excels in his or her field while also demonstrating a commitment to safety, training and the merit shop philosophy each year. Ruff received the honor at ABC’s Careers in Construction awards ceremony on March 3 during ABC’s Workforce Week ’17. The truck is paid for by the award’s exclusive sponsor, Tradesmen International, with custom upgrades donated by ABC business partner Ram Commercial.

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.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES:

ABC is here to help and provide support in any way as we navigate this crisis together. Please find ABC coronavirus resources for members as well as chapters operations: