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From monthly archives: August 2021

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Beacon Hill Roundup: August 31, 2021


The Massachusetts legislature is in their fifth week of summer recess and will not reconvene until after Labor Day.


●      On Tuesday, August 24th, Representative Andy Vargas (D - 3rd Essex) announced plans to run for state Senate, launching a campaign for the seat currently held by Senator Diana DiZoglio (D - First Essex) who is running for state auditor.


●   Representative Brad Hill (R - 4th Essex), who has served in the Massachusetts House since 1999, was selected last week to serve on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and on Thursday, August 26th, the House set a special election for the House seat for November 30th. Primaries will be held on November 2nd, the deadline to submit nomination papers to municipalities is September 21st, and the last day to file nomination papers with the secretary of state is September 28th.



Boston Looking to Tighten Safety Rules After OSHA Says Company Involve in Fatalities Assumed New Name

  Boston officials are looking to revisit safety rules after OSHA found that Laurence M. Moloney, the owner of Atlantic Coast Utilities, formed a "successor company" that is doing business in the city. On February 24 of this year, Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero and Juan Carlos Figueroa died after being struck by a dump truck and thrown into a nine-foot-deep trench on High Street in the Financial District, where Atlantic Coast was making emergency repairs to a sewer line. OSHA identified the successor company as Sterling Excavation LLC and said it shared responsibility with Moloney's other companies for $1.3 million the agency wants to impose for "willful, repeat and serious" workplace safety violations. OSHA also said it was inspecting Sterling Excavation after recently receiving a report about hazardous conditions at a job site in East Boston. A spokesman for Atlantic Coast Utilities said the company is not operating as Sterling Excavation or under any other name. Nual ...

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ABC's Beeman Quoted in Boston Globe Article About Fire Threats

  ABC Massachusetts President and CEO Greg Beeman was quoted in an August 29 Boston Globe article about potential fire hazards associated with the increased use of wood-framed residential structures. Beeman noted that "You can never say that everything is going to be without safety issues or concerns, but it would certainly be fair to say that built into the... oversight we have here, there's a strong safety component that is also interwoven. It will be hard to have a Wild West kind of scenario unfold here with the framework we have in place." Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Homebuilders, noted that potential hazards need to be balanced against affordability concerns. "We could probably all construct a house that would withstand virtually any fire... wind... and flood event that God or man could create. The problem is no one could afford to live in it," he said. "You also have to take into account affordability, and when you balance those things... a ...

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Construction Input Prices Up 23.1% Year Over Year, Says ABC

  From ABC National: THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2021 9:23 AM   WASHINGTON, Aug. 12—Construction input prices rose 0.6% in July, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index data released today. Nonresidential construction input prices increased 0.8% for the month. Construction input prices are 23.1% higher than a year ago, while nonresidential construction input prices increased 23.4% over that span. Energy prices continue to experience substantial year-over-year price increases. The price of natural gas is up 146.7%, while crude petroleum and unprocessed energy materials prices are up 102.9% and 93.8%, respectively. Prices for steel mill products increased 10.8% for the month and are up 108.6% for the year. “One’s definition of transitory needs to evolve with these data,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is quite likely that there will be less inflation a year f ...

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Haynes Group & Group One Partners Transform a Holiday Inn Into a Unique Destination

  Brookline, MA - The Arcadian Hotel, formerly known as a Holiday Inn and the Inn at Brookline, is a reimagined hotel tucked in a renaissance-esque neighborhood that incorporates modern and stylish vibes and pays an ode to its scenic location. Located at 1200 Beacon Street, The Arcadian Hotel offers a unique departure from the busy life just outside.  This unique getaway blends mid-century and modern designs throughout the entire space; from the muted neutrals with pops of color in the public spaces, to the lighting and wood features of the lobby bar. The designs were inspired by the historic tree-lined streets and parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, and the well-traveled, innovative residents that Brookline is known for.   Transforming this hotel into an innovative and distinctive getaway was Haynes Group, Inc., an established, local, family-owned company serving Eastern New England. Known for their unique industry process of blending personalized service and relations ...

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Braintree Middle School Bid Package Includes PLA

  The bid package for construction of the new Braintree South Middle School was released last week and includes a project labor agreement (PLA) that requires union-only labor.    There was little advance notice of the PLA, which ABC has learned was approved by the Braintree School Building Committee in September of 2020.   ABC attempted to meet with town officials to discuss the PLA, but we were told the decision had been made.   “PLAs effectively prevent open shop contractors from working on public projects due to their union labor requirement,” said ABC President Greg Beeman.  “Not only do they unfairly exclude the vast majority of the construction workforce, but they raise costs by reducing competition, and for no legitimate reason.”   Braintree recently released the list of prequalified bidders, and more than half are open shop, including three of the five prequalified general contractors and some 40 subco ...

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Input from ABC Apprentices Needed for National Survey


Please urge your apprentices to fill out this national survey from the Construction Users Roundtable about what factors might influence a person to choose a career in the trades.  The survey is also important because it will ensure that the merit shop is represented.  To make apprenticeship policies fairer and more equitable for merit shop contractors and apprentices, we have to make sure that the unions are not the only ones who participate in this survey.     


John Cruz to receive BBJ social leadership award

  Cruz Cos. President and CEO John B. Cruz III, who will serve as the 2022 chair of ABC Massachusetts, has been named the 2021 honoree of the Boston Business Journal's Lewis Family Foundation CEO Social Leadership Award. The annual award was created in 2007 in partnership with the Lewis Family Foundation, led by Alan and Harriet Lewis, owners of Grand Circle Travel. It is given to a regional executive who has gone above and beyond to innovate and create solutions to the area's biggest community challenges. Cruz Cos., a Roxbury-based family-owned business, gives back to Boston’s urban community in many ways, including philanthropic support, summer jobs, and a scholarship. Through its nonprofit social-responsibility arm, Cruz CARES (Community, Arts, Recreational and Educational Services), the company has hosted after-school programs, summer camps, college scholarships, resident field trips and a youth holiday celebration. “No one who knows John is surprised by this award,&rd ...

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OSHA Releases Updated COVID-19 Guide

  On Aug. 2, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Alliance program issued an updated guide containing COVID-19 guidance and resources for employers from a variety of agencies including the DOL, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, the guide includes input from industry groups on best practices for COVID-19 safety in the workplace. The latest updates to the Alliance program guide include the CDC’s list of COVID-19 guidance documents, a COVID-19 Vaccines Toolkit for Workers, Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People and more. Additionally, OSHA has included a list of general COVID-19 resources grouped by agency, including those on the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard and updated enforcement policies, and sections on respiratory protection, vaccines and additional industry-specific COVID-19 resources grouped by industry, su ...

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Apprentice Legislation Would Increase Problems with Restrictive Ratios

  Legislation requiring that apprentices be employed on all public construction projects in Massachusetts was recently heard by the Legislature’s Labor and Workforce Committee, and ABC MA submitted testimony noting that this proposal would only increase the existing problems posed by restrictive apprentice to journeyperson ratios that are a barrier to employment.      ABC’s comments pointed out that under MA prevailing wage law, apprentice to journeyperson ratios on public construction are based on those in union collective bargaining agreements, and these restrict apprentice employment based on the number of journeypersons employed.  In some trades, five journeypersons are required for each apprentice.  “At a time when the industry has a critical need to bring in new talent, these ratios are a huge barrier, and mandating  apprentices on public construction projects will only increase the problem,” said ABC MA President Gr ...

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