With the start of the new two-year MA Legislative Session now underway, ABC Public Affairs Director Rob McGovern and Lobbyist John Bartley briefed ABC’s leadership on plans for the session at last Friday’s Board of Directors meeting and planning conference.
Do you have an idea on how to train more apprentices? Do you struggle with restrictive business regulations? Have you ever thought, “Why on earth does this law exist?” Could you employ more workers if it weren’t for a particularly restrictive regulation?
Then ABC’s Government Affairs Committee 2019-2020 Legislative Strategy Session is for you!
Thursday, December 6th
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
(just before ABC's Open House Holiday Party)
100 Unicorn Park Drive, Woburn, MA 01801
(one floor up from ABC's office)
During the 2017 - 2018 legislative session, ABC was successful in advocating on Beacon Hill for legislation that would promote issues such as workforce development, safety, sensible licensing regulations, and opposed anti-business initiatives that would negatively impact the construction industry. While we worked on many bills, the following is a summary of the results of our priority issues:
Wage Theft - did not pass (Senate Bill 2327 An Act to Prevent Wage Theft and Promote Employer Accountability): ABC was an integral part of an almost 20-member coalition composed of key construction and business organizations that advocated for sensible proposals to address the issue of wage theft, while opposing the detrimental vicarious liability element which would hold almost any company, in any industry, joint and severally liable for alleged violations of another company if they simply have a nexus.
Promoting Veteran's Licensing Credits - passed (Senate Bill 2632, An Act Relative to Veterans' Benefits, Rights, Appreciation, Validation and Enforcement): ABC worked with legislators to include a provision within this omnibus veteran's bill to encourage the the licensed trade boards to review current regulations and put an emphasis on developing creative ways to accommodate and credit veterans with relevant experience that seek to acquire a license for their applicable trade.
Multiple Definitions of Fraud - did not pass (H. 2664 / S. 1744 An Act Relative to the Definition of Fraud in Public Construction Bid Laws): This legislation would have created a dangerous new definition of fraud solely for public bidding, which differs from the well understood and time-tested common law definition. This new definition would have made simple, unintentional bidding errors fraudulent and subject to severe bidding restrictions.
Mandatory Apprentice Requirement - did not pass (H. 2367 An Act Relative to Apprenticeship Programs): This legislation would have created redundancy, unnecessary complexity and cost increases on construction projects by requiring apprentices on every public construction project. Regardless of the federal court ruling this requirement illegal, this mandate would also have an adverse effect in the construction industry, particularly for simple and small jobs where the presence of an apprentice is unnecessary and would only increase taxpayer costs.
Disclosure of Sensitive and Proprietary Information - did not pass (House Bill 1005 / Senate Bill 1019 An Act relative to transparency in employee benefits reporting in private construction): This confusing and contradictory bill would create redundant and burdensome administrative compliance requirements for unemployment insurance and workers compensation, required employers to post a roster of employees and independent contractors at the jobsite that included sensitive information, and an inappropriate delegation of the attorney general's authority.
There are many reasons for our legislative success including our government affairs team, a supportive governor, strong relationships with elected officials, collaboration with other construction and business organizations, and, most importantly, membership engagement. We will continue to build upon these successes during the next legislative session.
On February 21, 2018, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued new guidance regarding when and how the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) protects union “salting” campaigns. A “salting” campaign involves union members, known as “salts,” who seek to secure jobs at non-union work sites to recruit additional union members and organize the site.
In Aerotek Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, four members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union (“IBEW”) applied for positions with Aerotek, Inc. (“Aerotek”) to attempt to recruit new members and organize the company’s non-union sites. In this case, the four “salts” were transparent about their intentions to organize the site; one stated he would accept any available position because he wanted to expose more electricians to the IBEW. Aerotek refused to hire any of the four salts, and the IBEW filed unfair labor practice charges.
The Administrative Law Judge determined that Aerotek violated Sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) of the NLRA by refusing to hire or place the salts because of their background as union activists. The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) affirmed the decision, which Aerotek appealed to the Eighth Circuit.
On appeal, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the NLRB’s decision and provided new guidance regarding when an employer violates the NLRA during a “salting” campaign. Specifically, the Eighth Circuit stated that an employer violates the NLRA only if the NLRB’s General Counsel shows the following:
(1) The salt’s genuine interest in obtaining employment with the employer;
(2) the employer was hiring or had concrete plans to hire (or place);
(3) the salt had the requisite experience or training for the position; and
(4) anti-labor animus contributed to the decision not to hire (or place) the salt.
Aerotek serves as a reminder to employers that salting campaigns may be protected activity under the NLRA, and attempts to circumvent or quash salting campaigns can result in steep penalties. Employers that are approached by applicants who express a desire to organize or further the efforts of a union should consult with labor counsel to ensure compliance with the NLRA.
Attorney General Maura Healy’s Fair Labor Division
The Massachusetts prevailing wage laws require that covered employees on public works projects be paid a minimum hourly rate set by the Department of Labor Standards (DLS). The prevailing wage laws apply to both union and non-union employers/employees. See G.L. c. 149, §§ 26-27H.
Continue reading for a list of some basic prevailing wage requirements. The list is not exhaustive, and failure to comply with these laws can result in significant civil penalties or potential criminal enforcement. It is important that you understand your obligations before you decide to perform work on a public works project.
ABC joined a nationwide effort to bring attention to the construction industry's skilled labor gap and collaborate with other Massachusetts construction organizations to promote statewide job fairs, panel discussions, and local community events to inform students and potential employees of the industry's vast employment opportunities. By working with Governor Baker to proclaim October as "Careers in Construction Month", ABC aims to increase public awareness and appreciation of construction craft professionals and opportunities throughout the entire construction workforce. Look for information on ABC events and information highlighting Careers in Construction Month!
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27—Michael D. Bellaman, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), issued the following statement supporting the Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code released today by congressional and administration leaders:
“The tax framework released today marks a promising step forward for the first genuine reform of the tax code in a generation. Associated Builders and Contractors is encouraged by the proposal, and we strongly support the tax reform process moving forward.
Last week, it was announced that Massachusetts' Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Ron Walker, will leave the Baker Administration at the end of June. The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development oversees labor standards, workers compensation, collective bargaining, unemployment benefits, workforce development, and many other responsibilities. Secretary Walker is the first Cabinet member to leave Governor Baker's Administration.
Governor Charlie Baker announced that he will be appointing Rosalin Acosta, a banker and progressive activist, as the new labor secretary. Acosta has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry including wealth leader at TD Bank, managing director at Sovereign Bank, and her current position as managing director at Santandar. She is a board member at Boston Children's Hospital and the Boston Foundation.
Charlie Baker's New Labor Secretary is an anti-Trump Activist
Ex-bank Executive to Replace Walker as Baker's Labor Secretary
Last week, over 40 ABC members representing 34 different member companies gathered in Woburn for a seminar on prevailing wage in public works presented by representatives from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Department of Labor Standards (DLS). We were joined by John Ronan, General Counsel of the Department of Labor Standards, as well as Heather Rowe, Lauren Goldman, and Brian O’Donnell from the Massachusetts’ Attorney General’s Office. The program featured an overview of how DLS sets prevailing wages, AGO enforcement of prevailing wage laws, and concluded with an open forum allowing those in attendance to ask both the AGO and DLS any pressing questions. This was a great event for ABC MA members, providing the opportunity to meet and interact with members of state agencies that regulate their day-to-day business operations.
We’d like to make a special thanks to the Attorney General's Office and Department of Labor Standards for taking the time to join us, and also thank all that attended and our generous sponsors that made the event possible - ABC Insurance Trust, Metro Walls Inc., and New England Fiberglass Windows.
Via ABC National
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27 -- Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today congratulated R. Alexander Acosta on being confirmed as secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a statement from President and CEO Michael Bellaman.
“Associated Builders and Contractors looks forward to working with Secretary Acosta to accomplish the U.S. Department of Labor’s vital mission of ensuring the safety, equitable treatment and advancement of all American workers without needlessly hindering economic growth. ABC and our 21,000 members look forward to partnering with DOL to develop a plan to fill the construction industry’s well-documented shortage of skilled labor with American job seekers. We are eager to work with Secretary Acosta to advance policies that expand job training opportunities, create safe and healthy jobsites and grow the American economy.”
The Blog is your one-stop resource for all things ABC MA. Here, you will find postings on the following: