January 16th, 2020
Volume 22, No. 2
Senate Approves USMC Trade Agreement
The Senate today overwhelmingly passed the new North American trade pact, now awaits President Trump’s signature, but the deal will not go into full effect until Canada approves the pact. Mexico already passed the revised deal in December, and Canada's House of Commons is expected to vote on the deal in coming weeks.
On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule to raise civil penalties for workplace violations by 1.8 percent. The final rule implements annual inflation adjustments of civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced by OSHA and other agencies within the Department of Labor in 2020.
OSHA’s penalty increases for workplace safety and health violations include:
The new penalty amounts take effect immediately, applying to any penalties assessed after January 15, 2020.
The House and Senate were in session with the House voting on H.R.1230, legislation, which would make it easier for workers to prove age, disability, and similar discrimination claims in court. The Senate continued working on nominations, along with preparing for the impeachment trial. Additionally, several Senate committees held hearings on the USMCA trade agreement.
In December, S.1434, legislation that would ban reverse auction for construction services, unanimously passed the Senate and this week, Reps. Khanna (D-CA) Meadows (R-NC) are preparing to introduce similar legislation making it the bipartisan Khanna-Meadows bill.
In 2019, companies were fined in excess of $333,000,000 which far surpasses any other previous year. This trend will continue and, in fact, SESCO expects more and more employers to be investigated for FLSA compliance.
A common misconception is that Wage and Hour disputes fall under the umbrella of Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). Although some Wage and Hour coverage may be found under EPLI, it is very unlikely and also depends how much you may be paying for coverage and the carrier’s willingness to offer the coverage. As such, your organization should be very proactive in conducting labor and employment law audits to include compliance to the Fair Labor Standards Act so as to avoid significant violations due to noncompliance.
Although not an all-inclusive list, the most common Wage and Hour violations that we find in FLSA cases and in our auditing practice include:
Are You Working To Engage Young People in the Trades? Tell ASA About It!
Hillary Marsh will be leading the Executive Director Education session during SUBExcel 2020. Her presentation, “Content Strategy for Associations: Communicating More Effectively”, will focus on the importance of content and how organizations can effectively use it.
Content is what connects an association to its members. In fact, content is an essential part of the value that your association provides. But in these busy times, it’s all too easy for members to miss out on your content, and pass up opportunities to get involved. That’s when they wonder whether the organization is providing enough value to keep their membership.
This session will illustrate what successful content looks like for associations, how to create it, and how to do more with the content you already have. It will include real-life stories about associations that brought content forward and how that led to greater member satisfaction, higher retention rates, and improvements to their profession.
Hilary Marsh is President and Chief Strategist of Content Company, a content and digital strategy consultancy. She helps associations, nonprofit organizations, and corporations get better results from their content by improving practices for content creation, governance, management, and promotion. Content Company’s clients include the American Bar Association, American Medical Association, Endocrine Society, Institute of Food Technologists, Million Dollar Round Table, National Association of Convenience and Fuel Retailing, and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.
Register today for SUBExcel to join us for this incredible presentation.
On Wednesday, President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed an initial "Phase One" trade agreement, freezing a 20-month trade war between Washington and Beijing and opening the door to a more-substantial "Phase Two" deal. The deal includes commitments by China to buy $200 billion of U.S. goods, including as much as $50 billion in agricultural products over two years.
By Engineering New-Record
The latest BLS monthly report on U.S. employment, released on Jan. 10, showed that construction’s jobless rate climbed to 5.0% from November’s 4.4%, but edged down from the December 2018 mark of 5.1%.
The BLS rates aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations. Construction’s unemployment rate tends to increase in the winter months, as construction activity declines in large parts of the country.
All but one construction industry segment posted employment gains in December, led by nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which added 9,800 jobs, BLS reported
The nonresidential building sector saw its workforce expand by 5,100 positions and residential specialty trade contractors gained 4,300.
The sole segment recording a decrease was residential building, which lost 1,100 jobs in December.
Along with reporting its preliminary figure of an increase of 20,000 construction jobs, BLS also revised its originally reported November increase upward by 1,000, to a total of 2,000.
In all, construction added 151,000 jobs for the year ended Dec. 31, an uptick of 2%.
Click here to read the full article.
ASA is the united voice dedicated to improving the business environment in the construction industry, representing subcontractors before all branches (executive, legislative, judicial) and levels (federal, state, local) of government, to organizations representing other parts of the construction industry, to the news media, and others.
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