Summit Natural Gas of Maine agrees to pay millions owed to contractors for pipeline work

Summit Natural Gas of Maine agrees to pay millions owed to contractors for pipeline work

AUGUSTA — The company readying the Kennebec Valley’s massive natural gas pipeline says it has agreed to pay contractors tens of millions of dollars included in a lawsuit against the utility last month.

A top official at Summit Natural Gas of Maine, the company preparing to energize its network stretching from Richmond to Madison, said $38 million has been owed to between 10 and 20 contractors for months, and the company plans to pay money owed to those contractors for work done by Jan. 10.

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Targeted worker misclassification law takes effect in Texas

Construction companies across Texas that work on public projects are on notice now that the targeted worker misclassification crackdown passed by the legislature in 2013 has taken effect.

HB 2015 “Worker Classification” was signed into law on June 14, 2013, and became effective on January 1, 2014.  This law is considered by many to be a good first step in the fight against the problem that is especially rampant in residential and commercial construction.  But, advocates for workers and for a fair marketplace understand that much more needs to be done in the years to come if the playing field is going to be leveled so that ethical companies will be able to compete.  While putting these penalties in place on public projects will help in the commercial sector, nothing at all will change in residential construction.

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California warehouse workers can sue Walmart over alleged abuse of “permatemps”

A federal judge in California recently held that workers suing Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and one of its warehouse operators, can go forward with their case to trial on the question of whether Walmart and the warehouse operator are liable as “joint employers” for alleged violations of hundreds of Southern California warehouse workers’ rights.

In making her determination to allow the workers to sue Walmart, the judge focused on the “economic realities” of the workplace and evidence showing that Walmart and its subcontractor, Schneider Logistics Trans-Loading and Distribution, controlled the terms and conditions of work performed by warehouse workers-who were officially employed by labor service subcontractors as, what is increasingly referred to as, “permatemps.”

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Just Announced: 16th Annual NAFC Conference to be held in Chicago, Illinois

NAFC has announced that it will be holding its 16th Annual Conference this year in the lakeside city of Chicago, IL, September 17-19, 2014.

The NAFC Conference provides a national forum for those committed to combating noncompliance of state and federal public contracting laws and  draws attendance from contractors, labor unions, fair contracting organizations, attorneys and various officials from local, state and federal governments around the nation.

More information coming soon!

Repeal of prevailing wage law would result in a weakened economy, University researchers say

Pressure from increasing state budget deficits, as well as debt from underfunded pensions, have caused critics to call for the repeal of Illinois’ prevailing wage law for government construction projects.

However, according to new research co-authored by a University labor expert, Illinois’ prevailing wage law creates many positive economic and social impacts, and repealing it would not result in any considerable savings for taxpayers or the state.

“We have a strong prevailing wage law in Illinois,” said Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations. “It’s better than most states in that it assures public projects are done efficiently and on time with the best results possible.”

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(Full PDF Copy of Study)

Minn. group calls for tightening fair pay standards

MOORHEAD, Minn. – Area firms underpaid 78 workers almost $118,000 for several Moorhead college and university projects going back to 2011, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry documents show.

The violations of the state’s wage and overtime laws are a sign that higher standards should be required of contractors to ensure fair pay and competition, said the leader of the Fair Contracting Foundation.

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Income inequality is fixable in construction

Across the country, states and localities can respond to the President’s call to action and grow wages, create jobs, and reduce income inequality in at least one sector: the construction industry. Today, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) is pleased to release a new study co-authored with Professor Robert Bruno, a labor expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on labor market institutions in the construction industry.

The study, Which Labor Market Institutions Reduce Income Inequality? Labor Unions, Prevailing Wage Laws, and Right-to-Work Laws in the Construction Industry, finds that prevailing wage laws did a good job matching common construction rates with the actual market price of labor, increasing worker incomes by just 1.2 percent. On the other hand, they have no negative effect on the total incomes of contractor CEOs. Prevailing wage laws, the data show, reduce income inequality between the highest earners and the lowest earners of the construction industry by 45.1 percent.

Attorney files wage-and-hour suit against Siemens

A Sacramento attorney has filed a class action in U.S. District Court in Sacramento against German industrial giant Siemens involving wage-and-hour violations against hundreds of current and former employees owed more than $10 million.

Most of the 300 to 600 proposed class members are current or former non-exempt employees at the Siemens Rail Systems manufacturing plant on French Road in Sacramento. Sacramento resident Jarrid Whitley is the lead plaintiff. He used to work at the local plant as a fitter/welder.

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