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Associated Builders and

Contractors Launches

Congressional Recess

Grassroots Campaign

 

    Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched a national grassroots campaign to run concurrently with the congressional recess. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage ABC’s 22,000 members to meet with their elected representatives Aug. 3 through Sept. 8 to discuss issues and legislation important to the construction industry.

     “We want to make sure that our members’ voices are heard by their congressional representatives while they are back home in their states and districts,” said ABC Director of Grassroots Chris Carroll. “Educating lawmakers on the importance of four pieces of legislation, including immigration reform, will help America’s construction contractors grow the economy and put people back to work.”

 

Following are the key issues in ABC’s Congressional Recess Grassroots Campaign:

     -          Immigration Reform: Encourage members of the House of Representatives to support a bill that includes a temporary guest worker program that treats all sectors of the economy equally and does not burden the construction industry with inflexible requirements and caps, as the Senate proposal does.

     -          The American Job Protection Act (H.R. 903/S. 399): Introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-La.), this bill would repeal the onerous employer mandate included in Affordable Care Act that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance.

     -          The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act (H.R. 436/S. 109): Introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), this bill would protect federal and federally assisted construction contracts from union-favoring project labor agreements (PLAs) mandated by government agencies and would allow merit shop contractors and their skilled employees to have a fair chance at competing to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

    -          The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772): Introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R- Va.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), this bill would provide strong safe harbor protections against prosecution and penalties for employers that use the E-Verify system and have acted in good faith. It also provides protection from any vicarious/subcontract liability.


 

Construction Unemployment

dips 0.7% in July despite

6,000 job losses

 

    "The major source of construction employment loss was among nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which forfeited nearly 10,000 jobs in July." —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

 

Summary -

     Despite the loss of 6,000 jobs, the nation’s construction industry unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent in July on a non-seasonally adjusted rate, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s Aug. 2 employment report. That is down from 9.8 percent in June and 12.3 percent the same time last year. Overall, the construction labor force expanded from 8.08 million in July 2012 to 8.43 million in July 2013.

     Nonresidential building construction employment increased by 300 jobs for the month and is up by 18,700 jobs, or 2.8 percent, since July 2012. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors lost 9,800 jobs for the month, but employment remains 1.8 percent higher compared to one year ago. Employment for heavy and civil engineering construction was down by 2,000 jobs for the month, but is up by 19,200 jobs, or 2.2 percent, on a year-over-year basis.

     In comparison, residential building construction employment increased by 100 jobs in July and has expanded by 7,400 jobs, or 1.3 percent, during the past 12 months. Residential specialty trade contractors added 6,200 jobs in July and have added 84,700 jobs, or 5.8 percent, since July 2012.

     Across all industries, the nation added 162,000 jobs, falling short of consensus expectations that were in the neighborhood of 183,000 jobs. The private sector expanded by 161,000 jobs and the public sector added 1,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in July, down from 7.6 percent in June and 8.2 percent in July 2012.

 

Analysis -

     “Today’s employment report is consistent with the June construction spending report, which indicated that overall construction spending declined by 0.6 percent and that nonresidential construction spending was off by 1 percent,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “That type of performance is not consistent with robust job creation, so it’s no surprise that the construction industry did not deliver net new jobs last month.

     “The major source of construction employment loss was among nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which forfeited nearly 10,000 jobs in July,” Basu said. “This segment had been recovering nicely, but now appears to be feeling the effects of an economy growing at less than 2 percent.

     “Meanwhile, the loss of 2,000 jobs in the heavy and civil engineering construction sector may be a partial reflection of sequestration,” said Basu. “Despite the job losses, the construction unemployment rate declined last month; however, much of the drop has been attributed to people leaving the industry.

     “Financial markets responded to today’s data in a number of ways, including lowering interest rates,” said Basu. “All things being equal, lower rates are better for the U.S. nonresidential construction industry’s still sporadic recovery.”

 


White House Plan Would

Mean Billion Dollar Tax

Hike for Contractors,

Small Businesses

 

    Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today issued the following statement in response to the White House corporate tax reform proposal unveiled by President Obama in Chattanooga, Tenn.

     “Far from a ‘grand bargain,’ the president’s latest trial balloon simply repackages warmed-over White House proposals from years past,” said ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr.

     “Corporate-only rate reduction does not amount to business tax reform,” Burr stated. “The president’s plan not only widens the existing gap between Main Street and the Fortune 500, but would actually mean billions of dollars in increased taxes for construction contractors.

     “Pass-through businesses comprise 80 percent of the construction industry and employ the majority of the private-sector workforce,” said Burr.  “A tax cut for large corporations financed on the backs of small business can hardly be called grand, and is certainly no bargain for the sixty million Americans working for pass-through entities.

     “Despite the president’s insistence on dividing the business community, ABC is encouraged by the bipartisan, comprehensive approach by Chairmen Baucus and Camp, and we look forward to working with them to make the tax code fairer, simpler, and more equitable for businesses irrespective of size or industry.”





    TP Mechanical would like to invite you to our annual Gala Event on Friday, November 01, 2013 A Whodunit Dinner Extravaganza supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. As a strong supporter of our community, TP Mechanical believes that by working together we can make a difference and we want you to be a part of it.

    As part of this event, join TP Mechanical in watching a murder mystery unfold while enjoying cocktails, dinner, and a silent auction. Join us and the Ronald McDonald House to help provide shelter for families in their time of need. By attending, your company will gain exposure while donating to a great cause.

    Donors will be listed on the event program, and the merchandise donated will be on display throughout the event. Please take a moment to view our sponsorships levels. We hope that you will partner with us in providing for such a tremendous cause.

    Register for the 2013 TP Mechanical "Whodunit Dinner Extravaganza" Fall Gala.  



Building a solution -

Charter school aims to lure

kids early to construction

trades

 

    Jammed with complaints from frustrated employers who can’t find qualified applicants for good-paying jobs, a local construction-trade association has decided to grow its own by opening a charter school.

    If this venture works, maybe it will inspire other business groups to expand educational offerings for students who are failing — or whose traditional district schools have failed them.

    The Ohio Construction Academy, set to open in September in an East Side business park, is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation: It’s being launched by the central Ohio chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. Fittingly, the new operator is also known by its acronym, ABC.

    The group’s CEO, who will head the new academy, said the idea was inspired by members and by Gov. John Kasich, a strong proponent of career-technical education to prepare students and to position the state with a well-trained work force.

    “Kasich said we need to make Ohio ‘cool’, ” Barton Hacker explained. “Our cool factor is missing. This is cool.”

    The plan envisions taking kids in grades seven through 12 and showing them the value of academic courses (math calculations, for instance, are used in construction), building their self-esteem and linking them with any of 126 member companies for summer internships. Graduates could have an apprenticeship job waiting for them. Salaries in construction trades can run $60,000 to $80,000 a year.

    Academy graduates would gain experience that could shave by half a four-year professional apprenticeship, offered to high-school graduates by ABC and labor unions. Or graduates might go to college: The academy has forged a partnership with Zane State College to provide credit courses.

    All this means that kids, including those who previously struggled in traditional schools, would end up being on a fast track for college or careers. And they’d end up with less or no college debt.

    The school will start with grades nine through 11, so that the first students will have at least two years of construction training. Within a few years, the plan is to serve 400 kids in grades seven through 12. A typical school week will include online courses, classroom time and hands-on training in the trades. Students will receive tutoring one day a week to ensure they succeed.

    Columbus City Schools also offers construction-trades vocational training, but not until grades 11 and 12; Hacker said it’s important to show kids a career path early, so that they may see a trade as a career option rather than a fallback plan.

    The first academy offerings will focus on construction, electrical and carpentry, but other specialties will be added as the student body grows. Eventually, Hacker envisions the school might teach instrumentation and heavy-equipment operation for jobs in the Utica shale fields.

    The group is investing more than $50,000 of its own money to operate the school. It hopes to start the fall term with 75 to 100 students and a $1 million to $1.5 million annual budget.

    ABC is certified in 21 trades, which it teaches adult apprentices evenings at 1725 Jetway Blvd. Days, the building’s classrooms sit empty. Meanwhile, members reported their biggest problem was finding qualified apprentices for good jobs.

    Somewhere society got the idea that all kids should go to college. Try calling an English major the next time the plumbing breaks.

(Columbus Dispatch - July 22, 2013)




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