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Mechanical Inc. Contributes to MCERF

The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) recently receives a $5,000 contribution from Mechanical Inc. (Freeport, IL), raising its total contributions to $12,500.

The MCERF Board of Trustees is very grateful for the support which enables the Foundation to continue its education and research activities that help our industry grow and thrive. For more information about MCERF, please click on the link below. And, while you’re considering a donation, please think about designating up to 50% to the MCERF Scholarship Fund to encourage and help our industry’s future professionals fund their education.

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Missed the January 14 Construction Apps Webinar?

No worries! You can view it by clicking on the link below.

You will want to learn from Ron McKinney (Atlanta, GA) about how mobile technology and apps have changed the five major construction workflows—plan management; daily reporting; progress photos; time entry; and safety documentation. This webinar is free as a MCAA/MSCA membership benefit.

View the Webinar

Labor Department Releases New Guidance Affecting Misclassification of Employees

Labor Department Wage and Hour Administrator Dr. David Weil released a new Administrator’s Interpretation 2016-1: Joint Employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).

This interpretive guidance, with less significance than a regulation, has primary significance to the construction industry as a way to stem rampant misclassification of employees as independent contractors, an unfair competitive advantage that some non-signatory firms have over signatory employers. This guidance also affects only wage-and-hour compliance and is separate from the controversy surrounding the new National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) joint employer ruling that is roiling unorganized firms in the context of union organizing efforts. In either case, the NLRB or Labor Department’s single employer policies have very limited application to union-signatory Section 8(f) contractors or prime contractors in the ordinary course of construction industry construction prime contract and subcontract commercial contract performance. Following is an example from the DoL Guidance derived from the air conditioning service industry:

A mechanic is employed by Airy AC & Heating Company. The Company has a short-term contract to test and, if necessary, replace the HVAC systems at Condor Condos. The Company hired and pays the mechanic and directs the work, including setting the mechanic’s hours and timeline for completion of the project. For the duration of the project, the mechanic works at the Condos and checks in with the property manager there every morning, but the Company supervises his work. The Company provides the mechanic’s benefits, including workers’ compensation insurance. The Company also provides the mechanic with all the tools and materials needed to complete the project. The mechanic brings this equipment to the project site. These facts are not indicative of joint employment of the mechanic by the Condos.

Click on the link below for the entire DoL release. Within that material is an example of a DoL enforcement action against a drywall firm for misclassification in that industry. Some comments indicate that construction prime and subcontract commercial contracts can be revised to address or defend against adverse application of these rules in the commercial contracting business. An initial analysis of those comments shows that regulators (see example above) are focused on the workforce realities of worker conduct and supervision, and boilerplate contract or subcontract terms will not be an effective defense against an adverse determination finding on a factual application of the single employer rules in either a union election process or a wage-and-hour misclassification context.

DoL Release

Latest MCA of Chicago Pledge Pushes MCERF Contributions to $500,000

The MCA of Chicago has recently completed its $375,000 pledge to the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) with a final $10,000 contribution. But the association’s generosity isn’t stopping there. Recently, the MCA Board of Directors decided to renew its pledge for another ten years, beginning in 2017…in the amount of $125,000, raising its total contributions to $500,000!

MCA of Chicago’s Steve Lamb noted, “MCA of Chicago is firmly committed to the guiding concepts of the Foundation, and we are pleased to be the first local affiliate to attain the half-million-dollar mark in helping to pursue these goals. We hope that in doing so, we encourage other affiliate organizations to participate financially in this most worthwhile enterprise.”

The MCERF Board of Trustees is very grateful for the association’s commitment to and support of the Foundation, which will ensure the continuation of its education and research programs that help our industry grow and thrive.

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UA and MCAA Submit Joint Comments on New Apprenticeship Regulations

UA General President Bill Hite and MCAA President Steve Dawson submitted joint UA/MCAA comments on the Department of Labor’s new broad non-discrimination and affirmative action requirements for federal and state registered joint apprenticeship and training programs.

Marking yet another positive and constructive advance in joint UA/MCAA public policy advocacy during the Hite Administration, the joint comments advise the Department of Labor (DoL):

“The UA and the MCAA share the Department’s commitment to ensuring that apprenticeship and training and job sites where UA apprentices and journeypersons’ work are free from discrimination. The UA/MCAA further believe that all applicants for admission to the UA/MCAA apprenticeship program should be treated fairly and evaluated on their ability, skill, and potential to successfully complete an apprenticeship program, and not on their race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, or disability.”

The comments then present a detailed analysis of the many potentially severe unintended consequences that the proposed rules’ assumptions may present for the sustainability of the registered apprenticeship training model; for instance, the broad assumption that any program that doesn’t perfectly match the racial, ethnic, and sexual identity of the Census data for the corresponding recruitment area is then suspected of tolerating discrimination or other barriers to the entry of “underutilized” populations of potential recruits.

The comments rebut that assumption with a number of factual statements and a test case showing that an applicant’s interest in the employment opportunity, the nature of the work and the skills, training and certifications required are the primary influences on whether individuals in a particular Census category choose to seek entry into apprenticeship programs.

The comments also contest the underestimated paperwork costs and the fiduciary questions trustees may face if the compliance costs outweigh the benefits to the program in particular areas.

The UA/MCAA comments ask the DoL to suspend the rulemaking or withdraw the proposed rules and engage in further fact-finding to avoid the potentially severe unintended consequences that seem to have been overlooked in the initial proposal.

Comments

MCA of Houston Contributes to MCERF

The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) recently received a $5,000 contribution from the MCA of Houston, raising its total contributions to $102,000.

The MCERF Board of Trustees greatly appreciates the support which enables the Foundation to continue its education and research programs that help our industry grow and thrive. While you consider your donations for great causes this year, be sure to include MCERF on your list. Click on the link below to find out why.

Find Out More About MCERF

MCA of Eastern PA Contributes to MCERF

The Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern PA (MCA of EPA), Blue Bell, PA, has contributed an additional $10,000 to the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) bringing its total contribution to $160,000.  mca-eastern-paTim Brink, Executive Vice President of the MCA of EPA, praised his association membership for its perennial support of MCERF’s efforts to fund education programs and activities for the mechanical contracting industry.  Brink, who also serves as Treasurer for MCERF, said he particularly appreciates the Foundation’s support of student chapter activities and internships for his contractor members.

President of MCERF Mark Rogers, himself a member of the MCA of EPA, thanked the leadership and members of his association for their years of support of the Foundation.

For more information on MCERF, contact Dennis Langley (dlangley@mcaa.org).

Mueller Industries Contributes to MCERF

The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) recently received a $50,000 contribution from Mueller Industries, Inc. (Memphis, TN), the final payment on its $100,000 pledge.

Mueller is MCERF’s latest Partnership Enterprise member (those who have contributed at least $100,000)!

The MCERF Board of Trustees greatly appreciates the generous support which will allow the Foundation to continue funding programs that help our industry grow and thrive. Still thinking about making a donation? Click on the link below for more reasons to write the check.

Donate to MCERF.

MCAA Student Chapter Summit Makes BuiltWorlds’ Top 10 Videos

VRMCAA’s 2015 Student Chapter Summit, which brought together more than 200 future industry professionals, faculty advisors, MCAA contractor members and local association executives in Cleveland, OH last October, made BuiltWorlds’ top 10 videos of the year. BuiltWorlds, a Chicago-based organization that promotes companies that develop technologies for the construction industry, organized an exhibit of vendors that displayed a variety of technologies that contractors are …or will…use on the jobsite and in the office. MCAA student chapter members were filmed testing the new technologies and discussing their features and applications with the vendors.

View the Video

MCAA Takes Action on Paid Sick Leave Executive Order

MCAA filed comments on the Administration’s Paid Sick Leave Executive Order (EO) 13706, which also is under an expedited path for final publication for mid-2016 and implementation in 2017. The EO would require direct federal prime contractors and subcontractors to provide paid sick leave (one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked) on a covered federal contract or subcontract of $2,000 or more. The minimum annual amount of leave is 56 hours, which can be carried over on an annual basis and reinstated after breaks in service of less than a year.

MCAA filed comments on its own behalf and on behalf of the Construction Employers of America after the draft proposed regulations were sent to the Office of Management and Budget and Office of Information and Regulatory Analysis (OIRA) for pre-clearance before the expected early release of a regulatory proposal in February 2016.

MCAA’s comments raised a number of questions about the statutory authority for the EO and the specific implementation issues under the federal Acquisition Regulations. MCAA also requested an in-person discussion on the comments at OIRA in the review process. OIRA is expected to grant that request and provide a hearing with MCAA and coalition representatives in late January. MCAA is assembling a team of select federal contractors, prime and subcontractors that perform covered federal new construction and service contracts to discuss the EO issues with OIRA in late January.

Read the Comments

MCAA Seeks Delay on Affirmative Action and Non-Discrimination Regs

As the last year of the Obama Administration begins, regulatory activity is intensifying to get long-delayed initiatives off the regulatory docket and into regulations before the end of the legislative year to avoid Congressional suspension and review of midnight regulations. One issue concerns new and much more comprehensive affirmative action and non-discrimination regulations proposed for registered apprenticeship programs.

MCAA filed comments in late December seeking an extension of the comment period, slated to close January 5, until March 6, 2016 or later. The delay would allow more comprehensive and constructive analyses of sweeping new rules that set goals for disabled apprenticeship applicants and written affirmative action plans, comprised of specific labor market workforce availability analyses for minority and female candidates, and utilization analyses and specific goals and timetables for affirmative action goal compliance.

The proposed regulations also add age and gender identity/sexual preference as categories for non-discrimination safeguards in program administration. Penalties for non-compliance range up to program de-registration.

MCAA is working with the UA and the International Training Fund and an outside consultant on program compliance guidance. The Department of Labor granted the extension, with the comment period now due to expire on January 20, 2016.

Braconier Plumbing & Heating Contributes to MCERF

The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) recently received a $250 contribution from the Braconier Plumbing & Heating Company (Englewood, CO).

The MCERF Board of Trustees greatly appreciates the support which helps the Foundation continue its education and research programs that keep our industry thriving and advancing.

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