Leading on the Issues — 2017
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 the 115th Congress to protect your livelihood and set the stage for a bright future. Working in concert with other like-minded associations in the Construction Employers of America (CEA) and with our labor partners at the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, MCAA staff is again on the Hill making your voice heard.
Congress should act quickly to provide employers and employees participating in collectively bargained, multiemployer benefit plans with more choices in retirement plan models. CEA supports Composite Plan design, a hybrid model, to bridge the gap between the existing options of traditional defined benefit plans and the defined contribution model. The Composite Plan model would enable multiemployer pension plans to voluntarily adopt more flexible plan structures going forward that would reduce risks for contributing employers but still provide reliable, lifetime income for a comfortable retirement for workers.
To protect local workers and local economies, Congress should not repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, in whole or in part. CEA opposes the “Davis-Bacon Repeal Act” (H.R. 743 and S. 244), the “TIRE Act” (S.195), and the “Responsibility in Federal Construction Act” (H.R.1042). We support prevailing wage provisions in innovative financing and believe that Congress needs to actively work to increase funding for infrastructure improvements. Our infrastructure will continue to deteriorate until Congress begins to fund these projects. The improvement of America’s infrastructure demands the highest quality and safest work product. To ensure this high-quality construction and jobsite safety, and to encourage apprenticeship and training, Davis-Bacon prevailing wages should be applied to these projects.
We advocate for increasing investment in the Nation’s infrastructure to levels necessary to ensure that our public buildings, water systems, airports, transit and surface transportation network meet the demands of the 21st Century. We support President Trump’s call for a $1 trillion infrastructure investment package to begin rebuilding our infrastructure. The package should provide a combination of direct federal investment and opportunities to leverage additional public and private funds. We also support enacting policies to allow state departments of transportation, local governments, public transportation providers, and airports to leverage public resources through enhanced innovative financing mechanisms to attract additional private investments for infrastructure projects. Finally, we support efforts to improve the delivery of projects and permit streamlining for infrastructure projects.
We urge Congress to support Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) between the owner/developer of a construction project and the signatory contractors that will be performing the work. PLAs are valuable tools for the construction industry because they can be used to create the conditions needed for a superior construction project; thereby, CEA opposes the “Fair and Open Competition Act (FOCA)” (H.R. 1552 and S. 622). The improvement of America’s infrastructure demands the highest quality and safest work product. To ensure this high-quality construction and jobsite safety, and to encourage apprenticeship and training, Davis-Bacon prevailing wages, along with project labor agreements, should be applied to these projects.
Comprehensive Tax Reform would have significant implications for the construction industry and proposed 2017 reforms would be the most significant since 1986. Tax Reform should not eliminate or cap the exclusion for employer provided health care; should reform the tax code on misclassification of employees as independent contractors; should address infrastructure investment to drive job creation and economic growth; should address S-corporations as well as C-corporations; should address issues related to estate taxes on small businesses; and should lower the rate and simplify the code and should eliminate the alternative minimum tax.
The Construction Employers of America supports Congress passing comprehensive energy legislation in the 115th Congress. S. 385 is a bipartisan energy package sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R – OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D – NH) with 10 cosponsors, and H. R. 1443, its bipartisan House companion bill, sponsored by Representative David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) with 4 cosponsors.
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.
The Tax Reform legislation just 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!
Congressmen Phil Roe, M.D. (R-1-TN) and Donald Norcross (D-1-NJ), both members of the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Pension Subcommittee, unveiled plans at a January 9, 2018 legislative roundtable to introduce a new pension plan design option for trustees. The Give Retirement Options to Workers (GROW) Act is expected to be introduced as soon as the week of January 15, 2018.
Emily Murphy has been unanimously confirmed by the Senate as Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). As GSA Administrator, Murphy will lead a workforce of 11,600 full-time employees and oversee more than 371 million rentable square feet of property and approximately $54 billion in annual contracts. Murphy is the daughter of MCAA past president Jim Murphy and Mimi Murphy.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) internet reporting rules and overtime pay regulations are under review by the Department of Labor, but two other Obama Administration rules of interest to the industry remain in uncertain status—the non-discrimination and affirmative action requirements for registered apprenticeship programs and the paid sick leave (EO 13706) rules for direct federal prime contractors and subcontractors.
At its recent Board meeting, the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) affirmed its commitment to press for Composite Pension Plan legislation this year. NCCMP also pledged to pursue legislative and regulatory changes to ensure the 2014 Kline-Miller law, which allows critical and declining plans to adjust benefits to prevent plan insolvency, is fairly implemented by the Treasury Department.
On June 15, 2017, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney issued a Memorandum (M-17-26) Reducing Burden for Federal Agencies by Rescinding and Modifying OMB Memoranda, rolling back some regulatory requirements on Federal agencies imposed by previous OMB Memoranda.
The John W. Danforth Company, a charter member of MCAA and a leading northeast US regional mechanical construction company, hosted a fundraiser for New York Congressman Chris Collins on May 31st in Buffalo, NY. Congressman Collins discussed his amendment in the House-passed health care measure to alleviate the local county tax burden in financing health care subsidies, among other topics. Local area construction firms highlighted issues related to multiemployer pension reform and the need for quick Congressional proactive policy changes.
The MCAA/Construction Employers of America (CEA) Legislative Conference brought together a near record crowd of MCAA members and members of other CEA sponsoring groups. The conference’s education sessions and lobbying meetings focused on key MCAA/CEA legislative issues and provided an opportunity for members to share their views with Senators, Representatives and key staff.
OSHA’s new rule to protect construction workers from overexposure to crystalline silica becomes enforceable on September 23, 2017. Under the right conditions, overexposure to silica can lead to silicosis and other health problems. To help its members protect their workers, MCAA provides several resources. All are free to members as a benefit of membership.
President Trump signed H. J. Res 83, rescinding a controversial change to OSHA’s recordkeeping rule. The rescinded provision extended the statute of limitations for OSHA to issue citations for recordkeeping violations from six months to five years.
MCAA’s Collective Bargaining Seminar aimed at improving bargaining relations, the effectiveness of terms and conditions to improve project performance and achieving the ultimate goal of improving MCAA and UA market share.
Following a multi-year tradition, board of directors’ members for the MCA of Connecticut and the MCA of New England all donated generously to the MCAA PAC. Both associations are among the most consistent supporters of MCAA’s PAC and legislative policy initiatives.
Flat rate premiums for multiemployer pension plans increased by 3.7 percent, rising from $27 to $28, for plan years beginning in 2017.
For the eighth consecutive year, 100% of ARCA/MCA’s Board members have contributed to the MCAA PAC. Increasingly, MCA local affiliates’ boards are supporting the MCAA PAC, allowing MCAA to better meet the legislative challenges facing our industry.
United Association Executive Vice President Rick Terven testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee on September 22nd on Chairman John Kline’s proposals to modernize multiemployer pensions.
The UA’s Director of Training Chris Haslinger and MCAA General Counsel John McNerney gave a 90-minute presentation to the Department of Labor’s (DoL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
MCAA Government Affairs Committee Chairman Bill Albanese and Committee member Jim Gaffney joined in support of the Foundation for Fair Contracting’s (FFC) challenge of an over-broad Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shield by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to withhold certified payrolls in a prevailing wage audit on a NASA job in Greenbelt, MD.
The latest regulatory notice affecting the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) provides 11 changes to the small business subcontracting plan procedures required of prime contractors on covered prime contracts ($1.5 million or more), the most significant of which is the subcontractor listing and payment protections. MCAA had testified in favor of protections.
The annual round of MCAA local affiliated association summer board meetings continues to bring strong support for the national MCAA Political Action Committee (MCAA-PAC). Lend your support to MCAA advocacy efforts by contributing to the MCAA-PAC by making a contribution today.
Timothy G. Wentz, associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, winner of MCAA’s highest honor – the Distinguished Service Award – and a three-time winner of MCAA’s Educator of the Year Award, became the 2016-2017 president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) during its annual conference in St. Louis, MO last June.
MCAA is honored that President Wentz will participate in MCAA 2017 in San Diego, CA!
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently issued two reports underscoring its multiemployer plan insurance fund’s precarious position, predicting that complete insolvency is more likely than not by 2025, if not sooner.
Last week, the Construction Employers of America (CEA), of which MCAA is a member, submitted a list of construction industry policies to the national Democrat and Republican Parties to consider for inclusion in their platforms during their upcoming conventions.
The Department of Labor (DoL) issued new rules pertaining to reporting by labor relations consultants and counsel relative to “persuader” activity, which were to take effect on July 1, 2016 but were stayed by court action.