The Blog

ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator and Contractor Confidence Index Waver in July

    Posted in Construction Economic Update, Construction Backlog Indicator, Construction Confidence Index, Construction Economics, News Release 2022 WASHINGTON, August 9—Associated Builders and Contractors reported today that its Construction Backlog Indicator fell 0.2 months in July and stands at 8.7 months, according to an ABC member survey conducted July 20 to Aug. 3. The reading is up 0.2 months from July 2021. While backlog is 0.3 months lower than the May 2022 peak, it remains higher than at any point between March 2020 and March 2022. Backlog rose sharply in the south, which continues to be the highest of any region. Notably, backlog decreased by 1.2 months for contractors with less than $30 million in annual revenue.   ABC’s Construction Confidence Index readings for sales, profit margins and staffing levels declined in July. The indices for sales and staffing remain above the threshold of 50, indicating expectations of growth ...

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ABC Hosts Webinar with State Officials on Pipefitter, Refrigeration Tech Licensing and Apprenticeship Requirements

    On August 11, ABC hosted an informational webinar with officials from the Division of Occupational Licensure and the Division of Apprentice Standards to review licensing and apprentice requirements for pipefitters and refrigeration technicians.    The two agencies recently issued new guidelines on the process for licensing.  The path to obtaining a journeyperson’s license for pipefitters and refrigeration technicians is more complicated than for other licensed trades in Massachusetts.  Apprentices must both be registered with the Division of Apprentice Standards (DAS) and licensed with the Division of Occupational Licensure (DOL)…meaning they must have two state cards from the two different agencies.    There has been confusion and misunderstanding over this two-tiered process. In some cases, apprentices and contractors did not realize they were not in compliance with requirements of both state agencies until they went to apply to exa ...

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Employers: The Time Is Ripe For Employment-Related Management Trainings

By: Michelle De Oliveira, Esq.             Employment law is constantly changing as courts issue groundbreaking decisions and new statutes are enacted at both the state and federal level. For this reason, the importance of regularly conducting employment-related risk management trainings for a company’s management team has become critically important. Examples include: The Massachusetts Wage Act & The Costly Consequences For Violations             The recent Massachusetts Wage Act decision in Reuter v. City of Methuen will have the following significant implication for employers moving forward: an employer that terminates an employee and does not pay the employee in full for all wages earned through the employee’s termination date on the actual termination date may be liable for three times the employee’s unpaid wages, plus attorney’s fees and costs. Better yet, ...

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ABC: Construction Unemployment Under 2% in 10 States

  The not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate plunged 3.8% in June 2022 from June 2021, down from 7.5% to 3.7%. Meanwhile, all 50 states had lower unemployment rates over the same period, according to a state-by-state analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors. Ten states had an estimated construction unemployment rate under 2%; the highest unemployment rate was 6.5% in New Mexico.     In June, national NSA payroll construction employment was 301,000 higher than a year ago and was 46,000 higher than its pre-pandemic peak. Residential construction employment has fully recovered while nonresidential construction employment remains below its pre-pandemic peak. June SA residential payroll construction employment was 112,000 above its pre-pandemic peak while nonresidential payroll construction employment was 66,000 below its pre-pandemic peak.     The national NSA c ...

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Employees Have A Statutory Right To Rebut Information Placed In Their Personnel Records And Cannot Be Terminated Or Retaliated Against For Exercising Their Right

  By: Laura M. Raisty, Esq. & Julianne C. Fitzpatrick The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruled in Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., 488 Mass. 730 (2021) that an employee cannot be discharged for submitting a written rebuttal to information placed in their personnel file. The Personnel Records Statute (M.G.L. c. 149, § 52C) The Massachusetts personnel records statute, M.G.L. c. 149, § 52C, requires an employer to “notify an employee within 10 days of the employer placing in the employee’s personnel record any information to the extent that the information is, has been used or may be used, to negatively affect the employee's qualification for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation or the possibility that the employee will be subject to disciplinary action.”  The Statute goes on to provide that if an employee disagrees with any information in their personnel record, and the employee and employer fa ...

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Biden’s Federal Construction PLA Mandate Rulemaking Imminent

  Wednesday, July 27, 2022 11:22 AM |   ABC News, GA-Davis-Bacon, GA-PLAs-Federal     The Biden administration’s controversial rule requiring anti-competitive and costly government-mandated project labor agreements on federal construction projects of $35 million or more is one step closer to being published in the Federal Register for public comments.   On July 22, the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs concluded its review of the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council’s FAR Case 2022-003, Use of Project Labor Agreements For Federal Construction Projects. The rulemaking will eventually implement President Biden’s Feb. 4, 2022, Executive Order 14063, which requires controversial PLAs on federal contracts of $35 million or more.   ABC blasted the Biden administration’s pro-PLA EO, calling it anti-competitive for small ...

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Lifelong Learner: Meet ABC's 2022 Craft Professional of the Year, Adam Haywood

  (Via ABC National)   Adam Haywood, electrical foreman and safety officer at Tewksbury, Massachusetts–based Premier Power LLC, was introduced to construction at an early age. His father worked for the phone company, and Haywood would accompany him on odd jobs, learning to love working with his hands. But his true affinity for the electrical field wouldn’t come until high school, when Haywood enrolled in technical school.  “Electrical was a big unknown,” Haywood says. “I didn’t know how it worked and it intrigued me. So, I decided that was a path I wanted to follow.”  Like many young people, he took a small detour before settling on his true calling. “I actually went there wanting to do culinary,” Haywood says. “But after going through that for a week, I decided I wanted no part of that at all. I liked cooking with my mom and my grandma, but I didn’t like doing it as a living and on a large scale.” ...

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Businesses Beware: Certain Financing Products Contain Sham Clauses Leading To Default

  By: Rachel J. Eisenhaure, Esq.  |  Kenney & Sams, P.C. Businesses looking to access capital have several options in today’s environment, from traditional bank loans to alternative financing arrangements.  In a traditional receivables sale (or factoring agreement), a business sells an existing debt at a discount and transfers the risk of collection to the buyer: the business gets immediate cash, and the buyer potentially profits on collection. One riff on the traditional discounted sale of receivables is the merchant cash advance: an arrangement where instead of buying an existing debt, a merchant cash advance company buys a percentage of future receipts. But not all merchant cash advances are what they seem. On June 6, 2022, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment to a plaintiff on a civil RICO claim against the principal of a merchant cash advance company, finding that the agreement was not in fact a purchase of future receivables, but a high interest ...

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Construction Law Update: Massachusetts Appeals Court Enforces The Massachusetts Prompt Pay Act, G.L. c. 149, § 29E

  By Anthony B. Fioravanti, Esq.   As we reported last month, the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently affirmed a trial court’s decision that construed the requirements of the Massachusetts Prompt Pay Act, G.L. c. 149, § 29E.  That decision was the first appellate court opinion interpreting the Act and its requirements for rejections of pay applications.    Then, on June 24, 2022, the Appeals Court issued a somewhat rare clarification of its decision.  In its updated decision, the Appeals Court clarified that it was not deciding whether an owner who fails to comply with the Prompt Pay Act may assert counterclaims against the general contractor for alleged defective workmanship.  As a result, it remains an open question whether an owner that fails to comply with the Prompt Pay Act in response to pay applications waives any factual or contractual defenses to payment for the work reflected in those pay applications.    Background &n ...

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Court Says Landlord Cannot Evict Restaurant Tenant Despite Numerous Defaults

  By:  James L. Rudolph, Esq. & George Georgountzos, Esq.   After a summary process trial before him (without a jury), a Superior Court judge recently held that a commercial landlord could not evict a tenant despite proving the tenant had repeatedly breached provisions in the lease because the breaches were not material. While the facts in making this decision were unique and specific to this case, the decision is an important reminder that in a commercial eviction, Courts have equitable power to sustain a lease despite a party’s clear breach of contractual terms, when the breaches are not material.   The facts in Varano v. PDJM Land Trust are the following. Varano is a commercial tenant who operates Nico Restaurante in Boston’s North End. PDJM Land Trust, LLC (“PDJM”), the landlord, operates Lucia Restaurant next door. Varano has a long-term lease that came into effect in 2008 when the leased property was owned by a previous landlord. In 20 ...

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Member News: Connolly Completes Stone Ridge Multi-Tenant Commercial Building for Richardson Green

  Connolly Completes Stone Ridge Multi-Tenant Commercial Building for Richardson Green BEVERLY, Mass. – July 13, 2022 – Connolly Brothers, Inc., a construction management firm serving private commercial, industrial, and institutional clients, today announces it has completed the construction of a 56,000-square-foot multi-tenant commercial building, Stone Ridge, in Middleton, Mass. for Richardson Green Inc., a family-run real estate business with commercial office buildings located throughout Massachusetts’ North Shore. Stone Ridge features the capacity to serve businesses in need of retail, light industrial, warehouse/distribution, R&D, flex, and/or office space. Coordinating closely with the town of Middleton, Connolly Brothers provide pre-construction, design, engineering, and construction management services on the project, with the design team emphasizing flexibility by pairing manufacturing needs such as high-bay warehouse space with modern office facilities. As Stone ...

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Chairman's Message July 2022: Gould Launches Daytime Electrical Pilot

  It’s sometimes hard to keep up with the pace of change in the construction industry, but we have no choice if we are to continue to succeed.  The changes aren’t just about technology; to successfully confront ongoing labor shortages, we must change the way we train.  To address these new demands, the Gould Construction Institute (GCI) will launch a pilot program this Fall with a hands-on shop component that will offer a daytime option for apprentice training in the electrical trade, in addition to the traditional evening program.   We are launching this pilot based on the success of similar daytime programs in a number of other ABC chapters, including the Keystone Chapter in Pennsylvania, which has generously shared insights and best practices with us.   An increasing number of apprentices now prefer daytime training over driving to class after a long and strenuous day of work.  At the same time, difficulty recruiting part-time teachers has reac ...

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Deadline For Completing Diversity Survey Extended To June 20!

  ABC MA has extended the deadline for completing the Diversity Survey until June 20th!  Based on the responses thus far, we believe we will have valuable information to share with members.  We ask that you share the anonymous and confidential survey with employees throughout your organization and encourage them to take part so we have as much data and information as possible.      Please be assured that all individual responses and are completely anonymous and confidential. The survey does not ask for company-level identifiable information and there is no way for the survey to collect any personally identifiable information. Additionally, the survey is conducted through an independent third-party resource that will review and analyze the data to maintain anonymity and confidentiality.    The omnibus survey results will be complied to provide best practices for members, while also exemplifying how ABC members excel ...

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New Gould Training Model, Workforce Development Among Topics Covered At Planning Conference

  A new Gould Construction Institute training model and our chapter’s growing efforts to address industry-wide workforce development challenges were among the issues discussed when more than 20 ABC Massachusetts leaders gathered last week at the beautiful Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire for a belated 2022 planning conference. As the pace of change in the construction industry continues to accelerate, participants discussed a pilot program under which some apprentice training in the electrical trade will switch from evening to daytime this fall.  If successful, the pilot will be followed by similar programs in sheet metal and then other trades. The change comes as more apprentices prefer daytime training over driving to class after a long and strenuous day of work, and difficulty recruiting part-time teachers has reached a breaking point due to high demand for construction services and the fact that teachers can earn far more in the field.  The new m ...

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ABC To Biden Administration: Withdraw Department Of Labor’s Davis-Bacon Proposed Rule

  In a comment letter filed last week, Associated Builders and Contractors urged President Biden’s U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw an inflationary and flawed proposed rule revising Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts regulations that apply to federal and federally assisted construction projects funded by taxpayers. In nearly 70 pages of comments on the DOL’s proposed rule, Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations, ABC opposed and provided feedback on many of the more than 50 significant changes in the proposed rule that will: Force contractors to adopt government-determined wage and benefits rates that do not reflect locally prevailing wage rates; Needlessly raise taxpayer-funded construction costs, resulting in few infrastructure projects and improvements; Stifle construction industry job creation and broader economic benefits; Undermine construction industry productivity and the efficient use of skilled labor; Disproportionate ...

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Longtime Member Brian Renaud Launches Contractor Benefit Solutions

  Brian Renaud has long been known and trusted by his fellow ABC MA members as the representative for the Contractors Plan, the retirement plan offered through our chapter.  He’s still the rep, but with his new firm, Contractor Benefit Solutions, he can do a whole lot more. Brian has long served the unique needs of contractors who do prevailing wage work, but with his new company he can provide members with more options and provide additional services.  “I want to keep working with the same people,” Renaud said.  “The difference is that now I can offer more options and customize plans based on a particular client’s needs.” In addition to the Contractors Plan, you can now contact Brian for health and benefit plans, and for the Sub Plan, a supplemental unemployment benefit account for firms that do public work that gives companies and workers short-term access to pre-tax dollars. Contractor Benefit Solutions can also connect client ...

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ABC 2022 Safety Performance Report: Top-Performing STEP Members Six Times Safer Than Industry Average

    Associated Builders and Contractors has unveiled its 2022 Safety Performance Report, an annual, comprehensive study of the impact of the STEP Safety Management System and guide to safety best practices on construction jobsites. STEP is a proven system, more than 30 years old, that enables top-performing members to achieve incident rates 645% safer than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics construction industry average.  The annual study was published to coincide with Construction Safety Week, which was last week. “World-class safety and total human health are integral parts of the culture of ABC STEP members’ companies—and it shows,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. “STEP is a crucial ‘step’ any company can take to be safer. STEP Diamond members are more than six times safer than the industry average, achieving an 84% reduction in Total Recordable Incident Rates. AB ...

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SkillsUSA 2022 TeamWorks Event a Huge Success

  Thirty two of the best Massachusetts vocational school students in carpentry, electrical, masonry and plumbing competed in a two-day competition to build a small structure as a team. The event was held at Blackstone Valley Technical school in Upton, Massachusetts on April 28th and 29th, with ABC members serving as judges.   “A special thank you to our member companies for offering up their employees to judge the competition.” Said Greg Beeman, President and CEO of ABCMA. “Taking members of your leadership team out of the workplace to judge a high school level competition is certainly not inexpensive. We truly appreciate their support.”   Teams from Bay Path Regional Technical High School (2), Diman Regional Technical High School, Greater Lowell Regional Technical High School, Shawsheen Regional Technical High School (2) Upper Cape Regional Technical High School and Whittier Regional Technical High School competed and the winning team will compete at the ...

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More Than a Dozen GOP Governors to Biden: Back Off Project Labor Agreement Mandates

  TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2022 1:40 PM Posted in Policy, Politics and Policy, News Release 2022   This news release was updated on April 28 to reflect additional governors signing on to the letter.   WASHINGTON, April 26—Associated Builders and Contractors today applauded a letter sent to President Joe Biden by 18 Republican governors, led by Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Bill Lee of Tennessee, opposing the Biden administration’s policies promoting government-mandated project labor agreements on taxpayer-funded construction projects. “As governors, we support policies that ensure robust competition for taxpayer-funded construction projects that welcome all of America’s construction industry to compete to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure on an even playing field,” the governors wrote. “We oppose Executive Order 14063 requiring controversial government-mandated project labor agreements on federal [… ...

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The Policy Giveth and the Policy Taketh Away: Do You Know Your Insurance Policy’s Coverage Exclusions?

  By: J. Nathan Cole, Esq.    If you own a construction business, a Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy is a crucial part of protecting your business from various losses. Generally, a CGL policy provides a business with insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by the business’s operations, products, or injuries that occur on its premises. While a CGL policy’s name implies that it provides very broad (or “general”) coverage, it does not cover all risks a business may face. Often, particularly when written with an “Excess” or “Surplus Lines” insurer, a CGL policy can potentially include significant and surprising exclusions and coverage limitations. These exclusions can be based on specific types of projects, products, or services; acts committed by certain individuals; and may limit your CGL based on geographic considerations.   The Policy Giveth: Start with the Insuring Agreement While ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - May 3, 2022

  Beacon Hill Roundup May 3, 2022   Overview On Thursday, April 28th, the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy filed an extension order through June 2nd for S.2226 - An Act providing for building justice with jobs, filed by Senator Pacheco (D - First Plymouth and Bristol), which contains a PLA provision. The Legislature tends to provide extension orders to give itself more time past the original deadline for joint legislative committees to report whether to advance or spike bills under their purview.   On Wednesday, April 27th, the House passed their $49.7 billion FY’23 budget proposal after three days of deliberations and added nearly $130 million in spending through seven mega-amendments. The 1,522 House amendments were categorized under certain topic headings (i.e., Labor and Economic Development, Housing, Transportation etc.), and the amendment categorization was part of the consolidation process that th ...

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SJC Holds That Parties Cannot Contract Away Willful or Knowing Violations of Ch. 93A

  By: Michael P. Dickman. Esq.             Earlier this year, the Supreme Judicial Court struck down a contractual limitation of liability provision as void against public policy.  In H1 Lincoln, Inc. v. South Washington Street, LLC, et al., the SJC held that contract waiver does not preclude multiple damages under the Massachusetts consumer protection statute (G.L. c. 93A) for willful or knowing misconduct. G.L. c. 93A, § 11 governs business-to-business disputes.  Section 11 authorizes a person engaged in trade or commerce to file an action for damages and equitable relief arising from unfair and deceptive acts.  If a violation of c. 93A is willful or knowing, a claimant may be entitled to recover double or treble damages.             In the underlying dispute, Alfredo Dos Anjos, the principal of the defendant entities, brea ...

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New Federal Law Prohibits Employers from Mandating Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Claims

By: Laura M. Raisty, Esq. On March 3, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (“the Act”), which amends the Federal Arbitration Act to invalidate pre-dispute arbitration agreements and class or collective action waivers covering sexual assault and sexual harassment claims at the election of either: (1) the person alleging the misconduct or (2) the named representative of a class or in a collective action alleging such misconduct.  The Act applies to all claims that arise or accrue after March 3, 2022, without regard to the date of the arbitration agreement.  It does not, however, affect any claim that arose or accrued before March 3, 2022. Background Many employers have entered into arbitration agreements with their employees to avoid unfavorable publicity and to have a faster and less expensive resolution to employment-related disputes than is generally provided via the judicial system. &nb ...

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ABC Succeeds at Keeping PLAs Out of Major Provisions of Senate Climate Bill

  Negotiations With House Loom as Next Challenge   Reporting by Chris Lisinski of State House News Service and ABC MA APRIL 14, 2022.....Senators took a major step Thursday toward achieving the net-zero emissions target they already set for Massachusetts by approving a policy-heavy bill aimed at expanding the clean energy industry and reining in emissions from the transportation and building sectors.  ABC MA was keenly focused on an amendment seeking to mandate project labor agreements (PLAs) on $ billion in home energy efficiency work, and we are pleased to report that amendment was defeated.  A much narrower amendment to increase offshore wind capacity does include pro-PLA language but is short of a mandate.  An amendment seeking to mandate PLAs on wind projects was rejected.   “Overall it was a very good outcome in terms of keeping a major amount of energy efficiency work open to all contractors and workers and benefitting MA residents with ...

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ALERT: New Ruling On Compensation For Discharged Employees

  Massachusetts law now mandates that employers must provide treble damages, attorneys' fees and court costs when discharged employees do not receive all wages owed, including accrued vacation, on the day of discharge. Resigning employees must receive full payment by the payroll period next following their resignation.   On April 4, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) found for a discharged employee who did not receive her accrued vacation pay of $8,952 until three weeks following a termination for larceny. One year later, suit was filed. Beth Reuter v. City of Methuen, SJC-13121. The Plaintiff was awarded treble damages (3x the vacation pay). Her attorneys are demanding $75,695 in fees and costs.   The SJC noted in its decision that in Massachusetts, the term "wages" includes oral or written commitments for paid holidays, vacations, or commissions. Therefore, if a suit is filed following discharge, all may be tripled. Because attorneys' fees often far ex ...

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ABC Sends Letter to White House With 1,200 Signatures Opposing Biden’s PLA Mandate

  WASHINGTON, April 6—Today, Associated Builders and Contractors sent the White House a letter with more than 1,200 signatures from member companies and chapters strongly opposing President Biden’s executive order mandating project labor agreements on federal public works projects exceeding $35 million. The letter lays out concerns with Executive Order 14063 and other policies promoting PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction projects, which would affect the allocation of funds under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law last year. “Your administration is taking a dangerously partisan approach that would defy congressional intent and affect the allocation of a significant portion of these funds,” said the letter. “ABC and our members are concerned this EO could limit the ultimate success of the bipartisan bill and the communities it is meant to benefit. “Recent government-mandated PLAs on fed ...

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ABC and AFSP Announce Partnership to Address Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry

  (via ABC National)   Last week, Associated Builders and Contractors and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention today announced a collaborative partnership to address mental health and suicide prevention throughout the U.S. construction industry.  ABC Massachusetts conducted a webinar with ASFP on the topic in October. The goals of the partnership are to improve the mental health of construction workers through effective suicide prevention education, intervention and postvention strategies; to encourage, equip and empower mental health champions in the workforce; and to introduce collaboration between ABC and AFSP chapters nationwide. “Safety includes total human health—emotional, social, mental, intellectual, financial, occupational and spiritual wellness—and we must continue to raise the bar for safety for the construction workforce of more than 7.5 million,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of health, safety, environment and ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - April 5, 2022

  On Monday, March 28th, the State House News Service noted that although the Baker administration did not include within their proposed state building code changes the ability for a municipality to require all-electric new construction, Attorney General Maura Healey has told the administration that it has the legal authority to propose such a policy. The administration's updates to the existing stretch code and its new net-zero specialized stretch code for cities and towns to adopt would hold gas-heated buildings to higher efficiency standards but would not allow cities and towns to eliminate their construction. On the March 18th deadline for public comments, Healey said her office had "filed comments with DOER confirming that it has the authority to create a special opt-in energy code under the Climate Act that will provide municipalities the opportunity to impose all-electric requirements."    On Wednesday, March 30th, Lowell city councilors voted 11-0 to give ...

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Fun, Food And Learning at the ABC National Convention

  (By Mike Maloney, Director of Apprenticeship, Gould Construction Institute)   Heading to San Antonio for his first ABC National Convention, I decided to chronicle my experience for others who have never gone.  It was marked by fun, learning, delicious food and great music.   One of the highlights was clearly the Craft Championships, where the competitors showcased their talents against tradespeople from around the country.  I watched the competitors hard at work, looking sharp in their t-shirts, and also stopped and talked to judges of the plumbing, sprinklerfitting and team competitions.  Among the plumbing competition judges was GCI board member Gary Gauthier.  It was certainly a thrill when Nathan Gallagher of Notch Mechanical Constructors took home the Silver Medal in pipe welding and Caio Torres of Medford Wellington Service Company won Bronze in the sheet metal team competition.   The opening night celebration included an ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - March 29, 2022

  On Wednesday, March 23rd, the Baker-Polito administration launched a new hiring and training employer grant program, “HireNow,” a $50 million grant program to incentivize hiring and help defray the costs of onboarding workers who do not yet have skills in a new field. Eligible employers can receive up to $4,000 per employee, capped at a total of $400,000 per organization, to cover training costs or signing bonuses. Any non-government employer in good standing with the state, including nonprofit and for-profit entities, can participate. Hires must be made after March 23rd, retained for at least 60 days, given at least 30 hours of work per week, and paid between $14.25 per hour and $42.50 per hour for a company to qualify for a per-employee grant. The $50 million program will be funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds the Legislature already approved to be spent on workforce development. The program is already accepting online applications from employers, and money will flo ...

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ABC Names the 2022 Craft Professional of the Year

  (via ABC National)   SAN ANTONIO, March 16—Associated Builders and Contractors today announced Adam Haywood, electrical foreman and safety officer at Premier Power LLC, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, was named the 2022 Craft Professional of the Year. Haywood was honored at ABC Convention 2022 in San Antonio on March 15. ABC presents the annual Craft Professional of the Year award to a construction craft professional who excels in his or her field, demonstrating a commitment to safety, education and the merit shop philosophy. “In his nomination form, Adam Haywood was called ‘quite possible the most skilled electrician in the state,’” said 2022 National Chair of the ABC Board of Directors Stephanie Schmidt, president, Poole Anderson Construction, State College, Pennsylvania. “But beyond that, it’s clear that he’s a leader in safety, quality, technology and attitude both on and off the jobsite. Adam has more than two decades in the constructio ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - March 22, 2022

  On Wednesday, March 16th, MassDOT officials unanimously agreed to support a bid by two minority-owned developers seeking to construct a combination of laboratory space, housing, and retail options on a parcel of state-owned land in Boston. The project on the 1.4-acre "Parcel 25," which stands mostly vacant on Kneeland Street where the Leather District and Chinatown meet, would add 600,000 square feet of mixed-use development, overseen by companies with women and minority representation. While MassDOT in the past typically accepted the highest-paying bid, Undersecretary Scott Bosworth said the department this time around deployed the "Massport model," which equally weights four criteria: ground rent and finance; diversity and inclusion; a bidder's ability to execute a project; and exceptional design and public realm contribution, which includes affordable housing. Altogether, 100% of the project's development, financing, ownership, and operations would come from minorit ...

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Massachusetts Ending COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave On March 15

  By: Michelle M. De Oliveira, Esq. On February 28, 2022, the Commonwealth announced that required employer-provided leave under An Act Providing for Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave will end, effective March 15, 2022. Until then, employers must continue to provide paid sick leave (up to $850 per week) to eligible employees for qualifying reasons relating to COVID-19. For leaves taken between May 28, 2021 and March 15, 2022, employers may continue to seek reimbursement, and applications for reimbursement must be submitted by April 29, 2022. Qualifying reasons for leave include: An employee’s need to: Self-isolate and care for oneself because of the employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis; Get a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or Get or recover from a COVID-19 vaccine. An employee’s need to care for a family member who: Is self-isolating due to a COVID-19 diagnosis; Needs a medical di ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - March 15, 2022

    On Monday, March 7th, the Department of Energy Resources announced that comments on DOER's stretch code update and new municipal opt-in specialized stretch code will now be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 18th rather than the end of the day Wednesday, March 9th. Senators Michael Barrett (D - Third Middlesex) and Cynthia Creem (D - First Middlesex and Norfolk), chairs of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee and Senate Committee on Global Warmingrespectively, last week wrote to DOER Commissioner Patrick Woodcock and, among other issues, said the way that DOER had scheduled the five required public hearings, including a Friday evening session, meant that "the Baker Administration is depriving the public of a full opportunity to participate." However, the agency said the decision to extend the comment period came in response to stakeholder requests.   On Wednesday, March 9th, Worcester Mayor  ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - March 8, 2022

  On Friday, February 25th, for the second time in less than two years, Attorney General Maura Healey rejected bylaws approved by the Town of Brookline that place restrictions or prohibitions on buildings incorporating fossil fuel infrastructure. As she did in 2020, Healey expressed agreement with the intent of the proposed bylaws that were approved by town residents last year -- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. But the attorney general, who is now a candidate for governor, said her statutory obligation to review the legality of bylaws prevents her from taking policy issues into account. She said her review concluded the bylaws were preempted by the state building code and a law that gives the Department of Public Utilities oversight of the sale and distribution of natural gas in Massachusetts. The decision comes as the Baker administration is proposing new building codes for the state. The proposal would not allow individual communities to ban fossil f ...

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Nine ABC Massachusetts Members Among Top-Performing U.S. Construction Companies

  Nine ABC Massachusetts member companies were named to Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2022 Top Performers list, which ranks its commercial and industrial contractor members that build long-lasting, high-quality construction projects, based on work hours.  The ABC Massachusetts honorees are: Bowdoin Construction Company CIANBRO DECCO, Inc. EMCOR Services New England Mechanical Erland Construction, Inc. JM Coull, Inc Kaplan Construction Notch Mechanical Constructors R&R Window Contractors, Inc. “We’re thrilled but not surprised to see so many of our members win national honors,” said ABC Massachusetts President Greg Beeman.  “This is just the latest evidence that our members provide owners and taxpayers with unparalleled quality and value.”  To be eligible, Massachusetts’ Top Performers demonstrated world-class safety performance by achieving Gold status or higher in ABC’s ...

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ABC: Construction Industry Faces Workforce Shortage of 650,000 in 2022

  via ABC National   WASHINGTON, Feb. 23—The construction industry will need to attract nearly 650,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2022 to meet the demand for labor, according to a model developed by Associated Builders and Contractors.     “ABC’s 2022 workforce shortage analysis sends a message loud and clear: The construction industry desperately needs qualified, skilled craft professionals to build America,” said Michael Bellaman, ABC president and CEO. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in November and stimulus from COVID-19 relief will pump billions in new spending into our nation’s most critical infrastructure, and qualified craft professionals are essential to efficiently modernize roads, bridges, energy production and other projects across the country. More regulations and less worker freedom make it harder to fill these jobs.” ABC’s proprietary model use ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - March 1, 2022

  Overview On Wednesday, February 23rd the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) released an audit that found inadequacies in the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) processes to ensure equal opportunity staffing requirements of its contractors for women and minority participation. State guidelines say construction contracts should call for 6.9% of the construction hours to be performed by female workers and for 15.3% of the hours of construction work to be performed by minority workers. But Bump's office said that 120 of the 127 construction contracts active at DCAMM during her office's two-year audit period did not meet the women's workforce participation goal, including 78 projects that reported zero hours worked by women. Eighty-one of the 127 contracts did not meet the minority workforce participation goal and 36 of those projects did not have any hours worked by minorities. The audit, which reviewed th ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - February 23, 2022

    Overview   On Tuesday, February 15th, Second Assistant Majority Leader Joseph Wagner of Chicopee announced he will not seek reelection this year, after representing his district for over 30 years. The announcement was made as nomination papers are becoming available, and Wagner said he hoped to give candidates time to make decisions and organize campaigns. Looking ahead to his final months in office, Wagner said he hoped to address impacts of inflation on the costs of housing, home heating and health care, particularly for seniors, as well as education funding.   On Tuesday, February 15th, Harvard professor Danielle Allen announced she will halt her bid for governor. Her announcement came one day after nomination papers became available to candidates running in 2022, which will require gubernatorial candidates to collect signatures from 10,000 registered voters. It also comes early in a weeks-long Democratic Party caucus season that carries ...

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ABC, Coalition Argue Against Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements in Letter to White House

  via ABC National   Wednesday, February 16, 2022 1:50 PM |   ABC News, Legislation, GA-PLAs, GA-PLAs-Federal, GA-PLAs-State & Local, Ga-PLAs-Federal-Legislation     ABC joined a diverse coalition of more than a dozen associations and organizations representing millions of workers in the construction industry in a letter to President Joe Biden opposing the administration’s new executive order mandating project labor agreements on federal construction contracts of $35 million or more. Executive Order 14063 was signed on Feb. 4.   In the letter, the coalition said the EO and similar policies applying to federally assisted projects “will undermine taxpayer investment in public works projects financed by the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021 and additional bipartisan legislation passed by Congress and signed into law free from language requiring or encouraging the ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - February 15, 2022

  Overview   On Tuesday, February 8th, Chairman John Cruz, Greg Beeman, and John Bartley met with Springfield Representative Bud Williams, who Chairs the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion. They discussed the ongoing House order studying diversity in construction, and our concerns with the barriers created using project labor agreements, along with suggestions for language if a PLA must remain, to include provisions to allow for all minority contractors to use their existing workers.    On Wednesday, February 9th, Greg Beeman, John Bartley, and Shelley Kaleita met with Watertown Representative Steven Owens to provide a slide deck introductory overview of ABC, our pre-apprentice programs, workforce development and training programs, member projects, and so forth. Representative Owens noted he would like ABC to remain engaged with his office regarding our ongoing activities with pre-apprentice programs, workforce developmen ...

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ABC: President Biden's Pro-PLA Executive Order Will Increase Taxpayer Costs, Worsen Skilled Labor Shortage

  via ABC National   Wednesday, February 9, 2022 1:53 PM |   ABC News, Regulations, GA-PLAs, GA-PLAs-Federal, GA-PLAs-State & Local     On Feb. 4, President Biden signed Executive Order 14063, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, which mandates the use of PLAs on federal construction projects of $35 million or more in value. ABC slammed the order in a statement: “This anti-competitive and costly executive order rewards well-connected special interests at the expense of hardworking taxpayers and small businesses who benefit from fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC’s vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. . ABC also said that the new policy will exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled workforce shortage, needlessly increase construction costs and reduce opportunities for local contra ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - February 8, 2022

    Overview On Wednesday, February 2nd, under a biennial reporting deadline known as Joint Rule 10, most joint legislative committees report whether to advance or spike bills under their purview; though the Legislature tends to provide extension orders to give itself more time past the original deadline. Bills that earn favorable reports advance in the lawmaking process, though clearing one committee does not guarantee a measure will emerge for a vote in either chamber, while adverse reports usually kill legislation until the next two-year session. Notwithstanding, the dispositions of the committee’s reports are still forthcoming, and our office will follow up with a complete legislative update once the entirety of committee reports are available.   On Wednesday, February 2nd, former Boston City Councilor and mayoral contender, Andrea Campbell announced her candidacy for Massachusetts attorney general. The first Black woman to serve as Boston City Council ...

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President Biden’s Pro-PLA Executive Order Will Increase Costs to Taxpayers and Exacerbate Skilled Labor Shortage, Says ABC

  via ABC National   WASHINGTON, Feb. 3—Associated Builders and Contractors today blasted President Biden’s executive order that encourages the use of controversial project labor agreement mandates on federal construction projects that are funded by taxpayers. “President Biden’s new policy will not help America ‘Build Back Better;’ instead, it will exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled workforce shortage, needlessly increase construction costs and reduce opportunities for local contractors and skilled tradespeople,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “This anti-competitive and costly executive order rewards well-connected special interests at the expense of hardworking taxpayers and small businesses who benefit from fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects. “Research has demonstrated that government-mandated PLAs increas ...

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Government Affairs Round Up - February 1, 2022

  Overview On Tuesday, January 25th, labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan launched her campaign for attorney general. Liss-Riordan made the formal announcement at the Ironworkers Local 7 hall in South Boston, where the union also endorsed her candidacy. Liss-Riordan is a partner at Lichten & Liss-Riordan and has built a reputation for filing lawsuits against major corporations on behalf of workers, including Starbucks, FedEx, American Airlines, GrubHub, DoorDash and others. She opened a campaign account in December in anticipation of a run and reported raising $159,131 before the end of the year, with attorney contributions constituting a big share of her donations.   On Wednesday, January 26th, Chris Doughty, a Wrentham Republican who has grown a manufacturing business in Massachusetts over the last three decades, announced that he is running for governor. Doughty is the second Republican to launch a major campaign for governor, joining former state R ...

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OSHA Withdraws COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS

  On Jan. 26, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it is withdrawing its COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, which applied to employers with 100 or more employees. The withdrawal is effective Jan. 26. Although OSHA is withdrawing the ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, the agency has left the door open to consider issuance of a new standard conforming to the Supreme Court’s ruling, following receipt of recent comments. No timetable for any such action has been set, and no OSHA standard applicable to COVID-19 in construction is imminent. On Jan. 19, ABC submitted comments to OSHA on the ETS stating, “It is clear to ABC, based upon the Supreme Court’s decision, that the ETS cannot be enforced in its present form and should therefore be withdrawn. Any attempt by OSHA to proceed with the ETS or to develop a new standard following notice and comment that d ...

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Progress on Pipefitter, Refrigeration Tech Apprenticeship Issues

    ABC is making progress on problems that have affected pipefitter and refrigeration technician apprentices stemming from a confusing registration and licensing process that involves two state agencies.  The developments came at a January 19 meeting of of the MA Bureau of Pipefitters, Refrigeration Technicians and Sprinklerfitters.    “This is welcome news for a large number of apprentices and employers who have been frustrated over a confusing and unclear process that has been holding up apprentices’ ability to get their licenses and/or move ahead with their apprenticeships,” said ABC President Greg Beeman.      At the 1/19 meeting, officials from the Division of Occupational Licensure (DOL) and the Division of Apprentice Standards (DAS) presented a draft memorandum to the Bureau to address immediate issues affecting apprentices who are ready to sit for the exam as well as to improve the overall process involving the two- ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - January 25, 2022

  Overview On Wednesday, January 26th, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is holding a hearing regarding ‘Miscellaneous and Late Files’ including one bill of interest, H.3821 - An Act creating a municipal and public safety building authority filed by Representative Natalie Blais (D - 1st Franklin).   On Tuesday, January 18th, attorney and life sciences executive Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, launched her campaign challenging incumbent William Galvin (see below) for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state. A University of Virginia alumna who earned graduate degrees in law and business from Boston College, Sullivan spent most of her legal career representing life sciences companies. The Legislature still hasn't set a date for the September primary elections.    Five days later, on Sunday, January 23rd, Secretary of State William Galvin  ...

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Attorney General Maura Healey Enters Race For Governor

 

Attorney General Maura Healey announce last Thursday that she will be a candidate for governor this year, and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has announced he won't join the race.

 

"If something's working, let's keep with it," Healey said outside an East Boston MBTA station. "And if it's not working, let's figure out what we need to do."

 

The announcement comes after Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karen Polito said in November that they won't seek reelection for a third term.

 

There are three other declared candidates in the race: state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Harvard Professor Danielle Allen, both Democrats, as well as Republican former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who lost a 2018 U.S. Senate race against Sen. Elizabeth Warren. With a $3.7 million war chest and high name recognition, many consider Healey the candidate to beat.

 

 

Beacon Hill Roundup - January 19, 2022

    Overview On Wednesday, January 26th, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is holding a hearing regarding ‘Miscellaneous and Late Files’ including one bill of interest, H.3821 - An Act creating a municipal and public safety building authority filed by Representative Natalie Blais (D - 1st Franklin).   On Monday, January 10th, a state-managed digital vaccination verification system was launched which may bring lawmakers a step closer to reopening the State House. The State House has been closed to the public for nearly two years, since the initial March 2020 surge of COVID-19. House Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka had said they planned to reopen the building to employees and the public last fall and while the House and Senate have established protocols for lawmakers and staffers to return to the building, the public still has no access. When Governor Baker discussed the proof ...

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