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Leading on the Issues

Year after year, you can count on MCAA to take the lead on the issues that make a difference to you and your company. Here are just some of the issues we are working on in Congress to protect your livelihood and set the stage for a bright future. Working in concert with other like-minded associations and with our labor partners at the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, MCAA staff is again on the Hill making your voice heard.



Multiemployer Pension Plans—Composite Plan Design

Our position:

MCAA continues to press for new multiemployer pension plan design options for pension trustees to consider - most notably the Composite Plan option, which combines the best features of Defined Benefit plans for plan participants, and the sustainability features of Defined Contribution plans for contributing employers. MCAA also supports technical corrections to the 2014 Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act to allow regulators to more readily approve benefits suspension applications for the 100 or so critical and declining plans, to preserve benefits for plan participants and forestall plan insolvency and mounting insurance claims on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). MCAA also works to make sure any eventual PBGC insurance rate increases on multiemployer plans are kept to the minimal extent necessary, and are phased in gradually so as to limit incentive to exit PBGC-insured plans solely because of premium hikes. MCAA also would support low-interest Federal plan programs only to the extent necessary to forestall PBGC insolvency and exorbitant PBGC premium increase on the majority of well-funded construction industry plans.

Infrastructure Investment

Our position:

MCAA supports legislative proposals to increase Federal infrastructure investments, with a fair balance of vertical and building and utility service infrastructure, as well as highways, roads and bridges. Direct Federal appropriations are essential, but given budget constraints, Federal and state cost sharing and public/private partnerships may be essential to meet the government’s need to provide adequate public purpose projects and services. Still, with those alternate financing options MCAA will work to make sure that Federal prevailing wage and workforce development policies are maintained.  Davis Bacon should be preserved, Federal contractor selection procedures and other contracting protections (contract provisions providing for equitable adjustments, differing site conditions, warranty provisions, performance and payment bonds) are preserved in those programs to the maximum extent possible.  Similarly, MCAA works to preserve public agency options to consider use of project labor agreements on both direct Federal and federally assisted projects as well.


Preservation of Davis Bacon Workforce Standards

Our position:

MCAA works to make sure the basic structure of Federal prevailing wage standards is not undermined in separate Federal agency funding bills for traditional direct Federal projects. MCAA also opposes Labor Department administrative or funding changes that would undermine the Davis Bacon wage determination process, or oversight and administrative compliance enforcement by the Labor Department. MCAA aids contractors with specific Davis Bacon project administration issues.

Preserving the Option for Public Agencies to Consider Use of Project Labor Agreements

Our position:

MCAA continues to work to preserve the proprietary discretion allowed to public procurement agencies to consider the beneficial of use of project labor agreements on direct Federal and federally assisted construction projects. MCAA opposes any legislative, regulatory or Executive Order dictate that would remove existing discretion in the Federal Acquisition Regulations permitting Contracting Officers, as a matter of sound acquisition planning and proprietary judgment, to assure adequate project workforce skills and availability to ensure successful project performance. 

Curbing Worker Misclassification Abuse

Our position:

 MCAA continues to work for Federal legislative and regulatory reforms that would curb widespread worker misclassification abuses and clamp down on unfair and illegal competitive advantages for unscrupulous firms in the industry. MCAA defends against proposals that would promote lax worker classification procedures, and supports legislative proposals that would allow tax authorities to set misclassification standards on and industry-by-industry basis, believing that one-size-fits-all industry standards don’t promote unfair competition in the construction industry.

Preserving the Benefits of Federal and State Registered Apprenticeship Systems for Signatory Employers

Our position:

MCAA works to monitor various regulatory initiatives that undermine the benefits of registered apprenticeship programs for MCAA member firms relative to other employers participating in non-regulated industry-certified programs. Moreover, MCAA is working to roll back much of the overregulation put forward by the last Administration’s non-discrimination and written affirmative regulations requirements for registered apprenticeship programs with 5 or more participants.

Reining In the Proliferation of Paid Family and Sick Leave Requirements

Our position:

 MCAA opposes Federal executive agency procurement mandates requiring paid sick and family leave payments on direct Federal construction projects. MCAA is working to roll back Executive Order 13706's paid personal time off requirement on direct Federal projects. Moreover, MCAA helps local affiliates address the proliferation of such paid personal time off requirements in state and local jurisdictions across the country. MCAA supports state preemption of various local ordinances in any state, and similarly supports Federal preemption of the various state mandates. MCAA also works to gain exemptions in the various laws or regulations for construction employers with collective bargaining agreements covering project workforces. Similarly, MCAA seeks regulatory exemptions that acknowledge the unique project scheduling and subcontractor work sequencing demands of construction project employment.

Promoting Various Tax Reform Improvements

Our position:

MCAA continues to work to repeal the often -delayed Cadillac tax on multiemployer health plans. MCAA continues to look for opportunities to level the playing field in any remaining employer mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act by lowering the employment threshold for the employment mandate in the construction industry to a level that is commensurate with our industry's small business size standards. Similarly, MCAA worked hard to expand tax credits and deductions for energy efficiency retrofits for commercial and  industrial facilities, industrial waste heat recovery investments, and to maintain and expand tax credits and expensing for hvac equipment and fire sprinkler installation in commercial and residential facilities. 

Opposing other Workforce Wage and Hour and Labor Compliance Proposals that would Affect High Workforce Standards

Our position:

MCAA opposes various forms of workforce overtime pay/flex-time proposals that would amend established Federal overtime pay requirements and thereby allow opportunities for abuse and avoidance of strict overtime pay requirements for workers. 

What's New

In a November 26, 2019 letter to Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA-52), MCAA Government Affairs Committee Chair Jim Gaffney voiced MCAA’s support for the Stop Unfair Bid Shopping Act of 2019 (SUBS Act, HR 5247). The letter commends the Congressman for introducing the latest version of the good-government reform to the direct Federal construction contract low-bid, price-only selection procedures.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released their comprehensive multiemployer pension proposal on November 20, 2019. Summarized in a white paper and technical explanation entitled “Multiemployer Pension Recapitalization and Reform Plan” (MPRRP). The proposal is a comprehensive and complicated re-write of the multiemployer plan rules as compared with current law. Intense negotiations among the various stakeholders will now take place in hopes that a final proposal can be okayed by Congressional leadership for enactment on an omnibus spending measure in late December – if equitable compromises on both sides of the aisle can be reached on the crucial principal issues.

The National Service and Maintenance Agreement continues to be an excellent tool used by  HVACR and plumbing service contractors around the country to grow market share and remain competitive in this highly competitive market. 

ARCA/MCA Continues Unanimous Board Support of MCAA PAC

For 15 years running, ARCA/MCA’s Board has unanimously contributed to MCAA’s Political Action Committee. This ongoing commitment, and commitments from several other MCA local affiliate Boards and other groups across the country, ensure that MCAA’s Government Affairs Committee has sufficient resources to advance key MCAA member interests on Capitol Hill.

Find Out What’s New with Our Labor Partners at MCAA2020

In August 2016, Mark McManus was unanimously elected as General President at the UA’s 39th General Convention and on November 10, 2016, he assumed his new position leading the nation’s most progressive and influential trade union. Mark McManus has had a distinguished career in support of our nation’s hard-working men and women and has been unwavering in his commitment to a strong and mutually beneficial partnership between labor and management. See everything we have planned for MCAA2020 on our convention website.

UA-MCAA Conference Highlights Benefits of Labor/Management Partnership

Over 1,400 United Association and MCAA representatives gathered this week for the 2019 UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference: Succeeding Together to openly discuss key issues affecting the future of both memberships, including assignment of trade jurisdiction, utilization of apprentices, the impact of benefit packages on contractors’ competitiveness, the importance of growing the service industry and the need for greater diversity in the field and office. In his opening remarks General President McManus established the tone for the conference when he stated three prerequisites to a meaningful and lasting labor/management partnership: Open and Continuous Communication; No Surprises; and Trust.

UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference Convenes in Las Vegas

The 2019 UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference: Succeeding Together will convene October 29 – 30, 2019, at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference, jointly hosted by the United Association (UA) and MCAA, will feature panel discussions focused on topics such as growing apprenticeships, expansion of service, and attracting tomorrow’s diverse workforce.

Succeed Together at the UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference

From discussions on apprenticeship best practices, diversity, and service to an MCAA-sponsored session that lets apprentices understand the management side of the business, the 2019 UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference: Succeeding Together will enhance your understanding of both UA and MCAA viewpoints. With mutual understanding, we can work toward continued work for UA members and profitable jobs for MCAA contractors, and that’s a win for everyone!

Collaborative Programming Aimed at Labor-Management Success

From discussions on apprenticeship best practices, diversity, and service to an MCAA-sponsored session that lets apprentices understand the management side of the business, the 2019 UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference: Succeeding Together will enhance your understanding of both UA and MCAA viewpoints. With mutual understanding, we can work toward continued work for UA members and profitable jobs for MCAA contractors, and that’s a win for everyone!

MCAA, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA), and Horizon Actuarial Services have released a new report, Multiemployer Pension Plan Reform Policy Issues (June 2019). The report analyzes how the impact of the lingering pension reform impasse in Congress adversely affects active participants in MCAA/UA pension plans and highlights inequities in benefit levels.

Join your UA and MCAA colleagues for education geared toward making the labor-management relationship a win-win for all parties. The 2019 UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference: Succeeding Together will take place October 29 – 30, 2019, at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada. This conference provides the unique opportunity to see both sides of the coin as labor and management collaborate on sessions and panel discussions to give attendees an in-depth look at what makes our relationship so important. Registration is now open!

The 2019 UA-MCAA Labor Relations Conference: Succeeding Together is scheduled to take place October 29 – 30, 2019, at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada and registration is now open!

Members of the MCA of Connecticut’s Board recently continued the long-standing tradition of Board support for the MCAA PAC. They join a long list of supporters who have provided funds to ensure that the MCAA PAC can continue its efforts to gain our members and our industry a fair hearing in federal public policy decisions.

ARCA/MCA Continues Unanimous Board Support of MCAA PAC

ARCA/MCA Executive Vice President Dick Sawhill and the ARCA/MCA Board made substantial contributions to the MCAA Political Action Committee again this year. This ongoing commitment, along with commitments from several other MCA local affiliate Boards and other groups across the country, ensure that MCAA’s Government Affairs Committee has sufficient resources to deploy on a non-partisan basis to advance key MCAA member interests on Capitol Hill.

MCAA and the UA Form Alliance

MCAA and the UA have partnered with the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) in a new alliance focused on building our national security by contributing to America’s infrastructure development. The groups will collaborate on workforce development, educating influencers and decision makers, and education and training.

MCAA Releases In-Depth Risk Analysis of Alternative Retirement Plan Designs WebBook

In response to a request from the MCAA Board of Directors following discussion of the stalled legislative proposal allowing new Composite Plan options, Horizon Actuarial Services provided an in-depth analysis of Alternative Retirement Plan Designs. The report, authored by actuaries Cary Franklin and Jonathan Feldman, offers a general risk-factor analysis for plan trustees to consider in any more in-depth analysis of particular plan circumstances and plan design options. It focuses on six areas: 1) traditional defined benefit (DB) plans; 2) variable DB plans; 3) cash balance plans; 4) money purchase plans; 5) profit sharing plans; and, 6) proposed new composite plans (not yet enacted into law). Cary Franklin will be making a presentation on this analysis at the National Issues Conference.

MCAA and the United Association filed a joint brief in the Velox Express, Inc. case pending before the National Labor Relations Board. The organizations voiced support for an NLRB Administrative Law Judge’s opinion that worker misclassification itself is an independent violation of workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The act includes provisions barring employer interference, restraints or coercion with respect to a worker’s right to engage in protected concerted activity.

The construction industry’s multiemployer defined benefit pension system is showing signs of resilience, according to the recently revised Inventory of Construction Industry Pension Plans, MCAA and Horizon Actuarial Services’ groundbreaking analysis of historical trends in pension plans’ key operating data. Roughly 75% of all construction industry multiemployer plans are projected to be fully funded within 15 years according to the inventory, which is based on the annual reports (Form 5500) filed with the Labor and Treasury Departments for Plan Years 2006 through 2015.

Local Affiliate Boards Continue to Support the MCAA PAC

All members of the MCA of Detroit’s Board of Directors recently contributed to the MCAA PAC, continuing a long-held tradition of unanimous Board support. The boards of the MCA of Connecticut, M&SCA of Eastern Pennsylvania, MCA of Houston, ARCA/MCA, CPMCA, New England MCA and MCA of South Florida also contributed to the MCAA PAC recently, as have the members of many Peer Groups. This support enables the MCAA PAC to gain MCAA members and our industry a fair hearing in federal public policy decisions.

Looking for the light at the end of the tax reform tunnel? Anthony Nitti will give you the “Nitti-Gritty” on the new tax reform act at MCAA18. His insights and analyses will show you how the changes in the tax law affect your company and your customers.

The long-awaited multiemployer pension reform legislation championed by MCAA, the UA and virtually the entire organized construction community has been introduced in the House by Representatives Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ). The legislation, H.R. 4997, the Giving Retirement Options to Workers Act of 2018 (GROW Act) is meant to safeguard the multiemployer pension plan system by authorizing the creation of a new type of retirement option – the Composite Plan – that combines the key features of defined benefit and defined contribution plans.  

Union representation in the construction industry ticked up slightly in 2017, tallying 14.7% (1.156 million among the 7.844 million total employees) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The findings are outlined in Union Members 2017, USDL Release 18-0080, Jan. 19, 2018.

Congress is back in session! This is your chance to get in touch with your House representative or Senators about the industry and business issues that concern you. If this is your first time advocating for a cause, a newly revised Management Methods Bulletin is available to show you the ropes.

During the negotiation process of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017, the tax credit for R&D spending was temporarily removed. Fortunately, MCAA and others worked hard to ensure that, the final bill re-inserted the language for the Research Tax Credit (“RTC”) and made changes that potentially increase the Credit by more than 20%. Learn about how MCAA members are taking advantage of these tax credits on BIM design, change orders and estimates.

Want to Know More about the Impact of Tax Reform on the Construction Industry?

The Tax Reform legislation recently enacted by Congress and signed into law transforms the landscape for construction contractors. Check out this summary of provisions important to our industry, compiled by Withum Smith + Brown, PC construction tax experts. And for more detailed information, we will have a workshop on this important topic in San Antonio, so more information to come!