ABC Applauds Amendment to Ensure Fair and
Open Competition on Military Construction
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations passed an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2013. The amendment, offered by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), prevents federal agencies from requiring contractors to sign anti-competitive and costly project labor agreements (PLAs) as a condition of winning federal construction contracts.
“Passage of this amendment ensures fair and open competition on federal construction contracts funded by the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill,” said ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr.
“We urge all members of Congress to oppose government-mandated PLAs that result in increased costs, discrimination, favoritism and delays on federal construction projects,” said Burr.
“Merit shop contractors and their employees want nothing more than to give taxpayers and the government the best possible construction product at the best possible price, while performing the work safely and on time,” Burr said. “We call on Congress to oppose any effort that would strike this language from the bill.”
ABC and FirstLab Launch New Partnership
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and First Hospital Laboratories (FirstLab) today launched a new partnership that will provide ABC members with extensive resources in performing and managing their company’s alcohol and drug screening, background investigations and occupational health needs, such as maintaining their employees’ certifications for physicals.
“We are excited to be working with FirstLab on these vital management services that will provide tremendous value to our member firms,” said ABC President and CEO Michael D. Bellaman. “It is critical that every construction firm hire the right people and ensure employee and jobsite safety. FirstLab’s comprehensive suite of screening programs and occupational health services offers solutions that will help contractors meet these needs and help create a safer work environment.”
“FirstLab is excited to enter into this new partnership with Associated Builders and Contractors,” said FirstLab President and CEO Scott A. Storrer. “ABC is an outstanding association, and one we’re proud to do business with. Ensuring safety, security, and peace of mind for our customers has been our goal as a company from day one. We’ve met this goal every day for the past 23 years, and will bring this same focus to ABC. Helping protect employees and jobsites is FirstLab’s duty and pleasure.”
FirstLab is the largest privately held, third-party administrator of alcohol- and drug-testing services in the U.S. and has more than 13,000 sites across the country. Under the new partnership, ABC members are entitled to a discount on the many services offered by FirstLab without setup, monthly or annual fees.
For more information on this new partnership, go to www.abc.org/firstlab.
National Trade Groups Team Up to
Create a Drug- and Alcohol-Free
Five of the nation’s largest construction trade associations have teamed up to form the Construction Coalition for a Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace (CCDAFW). The coalition’s mission is to create a drug- and alcohol-free construction industry by providing companies and organizations with the resources necessary to implement drug- and alcohol-free policies into their business practices.
CCDAFW today launched a nationwide effort urging construction-related firms and organizations to sign an online pledge signifying they will create and maintain a workplace free from substance abuse. In addition to listing current pledge signatories, the CCDAFW website, www.drugfreeconstruction.org, includes educational materials and state-by-state policies for substance abuse testing.
The CCDAFW is comprised of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT), Construction Users’ Roundtable (CURT) and Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE).
“We are driving an industry toward world-class safety,” said ABC President and CEO Michael D. Bellaman. “If we want to have an industry that is world class in safety, we have to start with a rock-solid foundation that includes an environment free of drugs and substance abuse. This coalition is a way to help companies build that foundation so we can continue toward our goal of eliminating all fatalities on construction worksites.”
“This partnership will build on the significant steps firms across the country have already taken to make construction safer today than it has ever been,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “Making sure that every construction worker on every construction site is fully in control and absolutely sober is the best way to save lives and prevent injuries.”
“As an organization composed of CEOs from both leading design and construction firms, the CIRT Board of Directors views participation in the coalition as extremely critical to reinforcing the importance of safety across the wide range of disciplines involved with construction job sites,” noted CIRT President Mark A. Casso. “To that end, we see the center piece of this effort as not only the pledge itself, but also the educational materials, model policies, informational aids and best practices that will be made available and shared.”
“At CURT, we believe the road to zero incidents encompasses all facets of effective safety and health programs,” said CURT Executive Vice President Gregory L. Sizemore. “The Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace initiative is a way to help owners and contractors improve their safety performance – on and off the jobsite – leading to the elimination of accidents and injuries.”
“The health and safety of the construction industry workforce is of primary importance to company owners,” said WCOE National Executive Director Penny Pompei. “Drugs and construction sites do not mix. Small businesses often don't have the resources to develop in-depth substance abuse awareness and prevention programs. This coordinated effort by a group of construction industry organizations will provide the tools WCOE's small business owners need to combat this danger to our workers.”
The launch of the CCDAFW website and online pledge coincides with North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, May 6-12.
ABC members are encouraged to pledge to become a partner in the Construction Coalition for a Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace (CCDAFW). Signers of the CCDAFW's pledge show their commitment to eliminating workplace injuries and fatalities caused by substance abuse-related incidents. The CCDAFW's mission is to advocate for the implementation of an industry-wide substance abuse policy and provide industry best practices to help companies achieve the goal of zero substance abuse-related incidents. The coalition recently was promoted at the Construction Industry Round Table's (CIRT) annual spring board of directors meeting. CIRT's board voted to fully support the coalition as a founding member during the meeting. In addition to ABC and CIRT, other founding members are The Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Users' Roundtable and Women Construction Owners and Executives.
NLRB “AMBUSH” ELECTIONS
RULE EFFECTIVE APRIL 30
A controversial final rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in December 2011 that overhauls procedures for union representation elections becomes effective on April 30.
Under the rule, commonly known as the “ambush” elections rule, the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place is reduced from the current average of around 40 days to as few as 17 to 20 days.
The NLRB achieved this drastic reduction in time primarily by:
- combining pre- and post-election appeals;
- truncating pre- and post-hearing procedures; and
- limiting the types of issues an employer can raise at a pre-election hearing. (Determining which employees are considered supervisors, and which employees constitute a potential bargaining “unit” are no longer permitted before the election takes place.)
Although the NLRB’s final rule requires no immediate action by employers unless they are involved in a union representation election, the shortened time period for union elections will place a premium on rapid response by employers to union organizing activity. Employers are encouraged to speak with their labor counsel now about implementing a rapid response plan for management.
In an effort to block the rule, the ABC-led Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in February filed a legal challenge that is pending in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The coalition pointed out that the rule denies employers their rights to due process and pre-election communication with their employees, which in turn denies employees their right to balanced information. In addition, it encourages the kind of back-door union organizing sought through the deceptively named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). A ruling in the legal challenge is expected any day and ABC will inform members of any developments as they occur.
In addition to the lawsuit, ABC supported a resolution in the U.S. Senate that would have blocked the rule. The effort failed April 24 in a 54-45 vote.
This final rule is only a small part of a larger proposal issued in June 2011 that called for even quicker union representation elections and more infringement on employer and employee rights. NLRB’s current chairman has indicated that he plans to eventually implement the entire proposal.