The Blog

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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ABC’s Construction Backlog Slips in December; Contractor Confidence Continues to Improve

  via ABC National   TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2022 9:45 AM     WASHINGTON, Jan. 11—Associated Builders and Contractors’ Construction Backlog Indicator fell to 8.2 months in December, according to an ABC member survey conducted from Dec. 16 to Jan. 4. The reading is down 0.2 months from November 2021, but up 0.9 months from December 2020.     ABC’s Construction Confidence Index readings for sales, profit margins and staffing levels increased in December. All three indices stand above the threshold of 50, indicating expectations of growth over the next six months.     “Demand for construction services in America remains strong,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Contractors have been upbeat about sales and employment prospects for months. What changed in December is that a growing fraction of contractors now believe that profit margins will rise during the next six months despite rising ...

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Massachusetts Adopts CDC’s Newly Issued Guidance Relating To Isolation & Quarantine

  By: Laura M. Raisty, Esq. & Michelle M. De Oliveira, Esq. On January 9, 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) provided additional guidance to clarify its December 27, 2021 update, in which it shortened recommended COVID-19 quarantine and isolation periods. According to the CDC, the shorter periods focus on when a person is most infectious and also “facilitate individual social and well-being needs, return to work, and maintenance of critical infrastructure.” On January 11, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker announced new isolation and quarantine protocols aligned with the newly issued CDC guidance. Quarantine If an individual has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19[1] the CDC recommends as follows: If the individual is not up to date with vaccination(s): stay at home and quarantine for at least 5 days, at which point they can leave quarantine if they are symptom free.[2]  ...

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Nonresidential Construction Employment Up 27,000 in December, Says ABC

  Jan. 7, 2022   The construction unemployment rate rose to 5.0% in December. Unemployment across all industries fell from 4.2% in November to 3.9% last month.   WASHINGTON, DC — The construction industry added 22,000 net jobs in December, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the industry has recovered slightly more than one million (92.1%) of the jobs lost during earlier pandemic stages. Nonresidential construction employment expanded by 27,000 positions on net, with all three subcategories posting gains for the month. Nonresidential specialty trade added 12,900 jobs, heavy and civil engineering added 10,400 jobs, while nonresidential building employment increased by 3,700 positions. The construction unemployment rate rose to 5.0% in December. Unemployment across all industries fell from 4.2% in November to 3.9% last month. “Today’s jobs report has ...

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Thank You to Diana Hasan for Volunteering Her Time for ABC Pre-Apprentice Graduates!

 

ABC MA owes a delayed thank you to board member Diana Hasan, who is also Director of Human Resources at C.E. Floyd, for volunteering her time to interview the graduates of the first cohort of the chapter's PACMAN pre-apprenticeship program and spoke at the graduation.

 

"A huge shout out to Diana Hasan for participating in the recent pre-apprenticeship graduation", said ABC MA Director of Workforce Development Steve Sullivan. "Diana's involvement in our program is critical for these participants. She has a deep understanding of the skills our member companies are looking for in new hires, and learning how to interview well can be a game changer for these graduates."

 

If you're interested in talking to some of our pre-apprenticeship graduates or getting involved in the program, contact Steve at [email protected] or (781) 281-6860.

 

 

Beacon Hill Round-Up - January 4, 2022

   On Tuesday, January 4th at 1pm, the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture is holding a hearing regarding ‘Fishing, Hunting and Trapping and Miscellaneous Matters’ including one bill of interest S.548 - An Act relative to crumbling concrete foundations filed by Senator Anne Gobi (D - Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex).    On Monday, December 20th, Senate President Karen Spilka (D - Second Middlesex and Norfolk) disclosed that in mid-November she had "a mild stroke" and was told by her doctors to rest, which explains her weeks-long absence from the State House. Spilka said her doctors expect her to make a full recovery within a matter of weeks. In a separate statement, she also announced that she intends to seek reelection to her seat in 2022 and to the Senate president’s post in the next two-year session. Before serving in the legislature, Spilka was a social wo ...

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Thank You for Making Our Annual Blanket Drive a Success!

 

We would like to thank members for participating in our annual Blanket Drive to benefit Mission of Deeds and providing much-needed help to the less fortunate. With your generous help this holiday season, we were able to collect the most blankets in our three years of partnering with Mission of Deeds! We would like to thank athe companies that donated, including Energy Electric Co. Inc., Skilled Trade Partners, JM Coull, Inc., D & D Electrical Contractors, Plumb House, Inc,, Nardone Electric Corp., and all those that donated anonymously.

 

 

New GCI Course to Prepare Students for Careers in Construction

  The Gould Construction Institute is pleased to offer Introduction to Construction 101, a 22-week course to be held at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton that will provide students with a foundation in construction and prepare them for more complex, trade-specific coursework.   The course will provide 135 hours of construction training. Beginning with safety, it will cover construction math, introductions to hand and power tools, construction drawings, basic rigging basic communication skills, employability skills and materials handling.   “We’re excited to grow our partnership and collaborate with Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School to meet the needs of a growing construction industry and give people the tools they need for a lucrative and rewarding career,” said GCI President Julie DeStefano. “This course will teach students core construction-related skills as well as introduce them to some licensed trades.& ...

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Government Affairs Update - Dec. 21, 2021

  On Monday, December 13th, Governor Baker signed the $4 billion federal aid and surplus disbursement bill that deploys $2.55 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money and $1.45 billion in fiscal 2021 surplus state tax revenue, while preserving a little more than $2.3 billion in federal ARPA funds for future use. Governor Baker vetoed a policy section that required a large commission be consulted before premium pay could be awarded to frontline employees who worked during the COVID-19 state of emergency and returned another similar outside section with proposed amendments. The spending itself is mostly concentrated on health care ($964 million), housing ($624 million), infrastructure ($414 million), education ($389 million) and economic development ($267 million), as well as on specific workforce issues ($500 million allotments for both premium pay awards and the state's unemployment insurance system). If the Legislature is to override Baker, it will take two-thirds votes in both the ...

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Vaccine Mandate Update: Stay Lifted On Federal Vaccine Mandate, But Injuntion Against Contractor Mandate Upheld; New Guidance From MA Attorney General

    On Friday, December 17, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the 5th Circuit’s stay of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, which applies to employers with 100 or more employees.   Meanwhile, OSHA has announced a delayed re-start of the ETS enforcement until Jan. 10, and they will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before Feb. 9, “so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.”  Multiple emergency appeals have been filed with the Supreme Court, and it’s anticipated that the Court will issue a decision well in advance of Jan. 10, possibly as early as this coming week, on whether to reinstate the stay pending further review. Soon after the 6th Circuit decision was issued, the 11th Circuit kept in place a Georgia Court’s nationwide injunction against the ...

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Court Rules for ABC, Temporarily Halts Enforcement of Federal Contractor COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

  By Michelle M. De Oliveira, Esq. & Laura M. Raisty, Esq., Kenney & Sams, P.C.    On December 7, 2021, the United States District Court for The Southern District of Georgia halted enforcement of President Biden’s Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (EO 14042).  ABC joined a coalition of states that challenged the order.  As a national organization, our association’s involvement means the order will apply nationwide, rather than just to the states that sued. What Does This Mean? For now, we are back to the status quo—and federal contractors do not need to comply with the requirements set forth in EO 14042, including the requirement that all employees “working on or in connection with a covered contract” be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022. This, of course, may change as the case continues its way up through the courts—but at least fo ...

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Florida Condominium Collapse Forces Massachusetts to Reevaluate Construction and Design Liability Laws

  by Alexander Tsianatelis, Esq.   Many states and jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, have been prompted to re-examine their construction and design liability related laws in the wake of the Champlain Towers South high-rise condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida. One such law is under particular scrutiny in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 260, §2B (the “Statute of Repose”) generally prevents the enforceability of any “action of tort for damages arising out of any deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, construction or general administration of an improvement to real property” after a period of six years from “the earlier of the dates of: (1) the opening of the improvement to use; or (2) substantial completion of the improvement and the taking of possession for occupancy by the owner.” Generally, this means plaintiffs are prevented from enforcing tort claims against ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - November 23, 2021

  On Tuesday, November 23rd, the Joint Committee on Judiciary is holding a hearing regarding 'Privacy & Protected Classes' which includes one bill of interest – S.1089 - An Act to protect unpaid interns, volunteers, and independent contractors from sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination filed by Senator Lovely (D - Second Essex).   On Monday, November 15th, House Speaker Ronald Mariano (D - 3rd Norfolk) announced he intends to campaign for another term in the House next November, then another term as speaker in January 2023. Speaker Mariano was first elected to the House in a 1991 special election, and this would be his 16th full term in the House. His predecessor, former House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who was House speaker for a record-setting 12 years, resigned mid-term in October 2019, leaving office to take a job at Northeastern University and creating the opportunity for Mariano, his deputy, ...

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