Just Announced – 19th Annual NAFC Conference – Nashville, TN, Sept. 24 – 26, 2017



NAFC will be holding their next Annual Conference in 2017 in Music City U.S.A., Nashville, Tennessee. The Conference will be held at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, in the heart of the city. NAFC’s National Conference is attended by several hundred participants from across the nation, including representatives from labor organizations, fair contractors, fair contracting compliance organizations as well as researchers, academics, attorneys and officials from federal, state and local governments. Stay tuned for further details and registration information coming in early 2017.

(View NAFC Conference Page)

Productivity slides without prevailing wage laws Larry L. Roberts

DECEMBER 30, 2016 12:36 PM

Recently, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson penned a column with his Christmas wish list of low-road pro-business issues he expects the GOP to address in the 2017 General Assembly.

While I am not surprised by Adkisson’s support for repeal of Kentucky’s prevailing-wage law, I am surprised he relied upon a flawed draft report to substantiate repeal of something as important to the economy as prevailing wage.

The report he referenced was not adopted by the Kentucky legislature’s Program Review and Investigations Committee at its Dec. 16, 2014 meeting for a variety of reasons. The report was not an accounting of construction costs; it was a back-of-the-envelope hypothetical calculation about wages – and wages only.

There was no consideration of whether or not projects were completed on time. There was no consideration of cost overruns. There was no consideration of productivity of low-wage contractors and there was no consideration of downstream maintenance cost.

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Prevailing Wage Repeal Would Hurt Kentucky’s Economy

Repealing Kentucky’s prevailing wage law would weaken the state’s economy, according to a new study.

Eliminating prevailing wage would cause a pay cut for middle-class workers, qualify more workers for public assistance, slash apprenticeship training, and result in more of Kentucky’s tax dollars going to out-of-state or foreign contractors. Veterans, who populate construction trades at a higher rate than non-veterans, would be particularly impacted if Kentucky were to repeal its prevailing wage standards.

DECEMBER 16, 2016

The report was authored by economics professor Kevin Duncan, PhD and Frank Manzo IV, MPP- Policy Director of the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, a division of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute.

Full Report: The Economic, Fiscal, and Social Effects of Kentucky’s Prevailing Wage Law.

Fact Sheet #1: One-page summary of the report.

Fact Sheet #2: One-page summary – version 2.

The preponderance of peer-reviewed economic research finds that prevailing wage laws do not increase construction costs, including three-fourths of all studies over the past two decades. This finding directly disputes the claims of those who advocate for repealing Kentucky’s 76-year-old prevailing wage law. Unfortunately, some prevailing wage opponents are either really bad at math, or they expect the people of Kentucky to work for poverty-level wages.

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Effect of state laws prohibiting the payment of subminimum wages to workers with disabilities on the enforcement of section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

November 17, 2016

This Administrator’s Interpretation provides guidance regarding the impact of state laws that prohibit the payment of subminimum wages to workers with disabilities on the enforcement of section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers paying subminimum wages to workers with disabilities under a section 14(c) certificate must pay these employees in accordance with both Federal and state laws. The issuance of a certificate under the provisions of section 14(c) of the FLSA does not excuse noncompliance with any state law establishing higher minimum wage requirements.

I. Background

The Secretary of Labor is authorized to administer and enforce section 14(c) of the FLSA, which provides that “to the extent necessary to prevent curtailment of opportunities for employment, [the Secretary] shall” issue certificates permitting employers to pay subminimum wages to workers who have disabilities for the work to be performed. 29 U.S.C. 214(c). The regulations interpreting FLSA section 14(c) explain the certificate application process and the requirements for payment of subminimum wages under a certificate. See 29 CFR part 525.1 Subminimum wage rates permitted by section 14(c) must be based on the prevailing wage for the job and must be commensurate with the worker’s productivity as compared to the productivity of an experienced worker who is not disabled for the work to be performed. Under contracts with the Federal Government subject to the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Walsh-Healy Public Contracts Act (PCA), employers with section 14(c) certificates are permitted to pay wages that are lower than the applicable prevailing wage under the contract to workers who have disabilities for the work to be performed.

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Prevailing wage repeal a con job | Frank Manzo IV

Frank Manzo IV, Guest Contributor
7:46 a.m. EST December 19, 2016

The dictionary defines a “con job” as an act of “swindling or duping” to get one’s way.

Kentucky voted overwhelmingly to elect Donald Trump President, along with historic GOP majorities in both houses of the Legislature. To win, Trump and Kentucky Republicans campaigned on a lot of promises–including to “create jobs,” and “lift the wages” of working people.

Early next month, the Kentucky Legislature is expected to do just the opposite, by repealing the state’s prevailing wage law.

Prevailing Wage is the minimum wage for skilled construction work on state-funded projects. There are over 82,000 Kentuckians working in occupations affected by its state prevailing wage-carpentry, plumbing, electrical, pavers, roofers, painters and more. A repeal of prevailing wage would be a state-mandated pay cut for these workers.

Recent research by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute and renown Economist Dr. Kevin Duncan shows that prevailing wage repeal will cost 1800 of these workers their jobs, drive almost 6,000 into poverty and onto public assistance, cost another 6,000 their employer-sponsored health insurance, and will eliminate pension plans for another 10,000 workers. And because lower wages translates to lower spending by workers in their communities, prevailing wage repeal will cost Kentucky another 1100 jobs across other economic sectors.

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Opinion: How prevailing-wage laws help veterans

12/08/2016, 06:51pm
Mike Pounovich and Marc Poulos

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers from taking effect, imperiling one of the outgoing president’s signature achievements for boosting wages.

Veterans work in construction at higher rates than non-veterans. And the military invests heavily in training for these types of jobs – providing 22 percent of all skilled trade apprenticeships in the country today.

Research and our own experience inside the industry shows that the key policy driving many veterans and others into these middle-class construction careers is prevailing wage laws – the minimum wage for skilled construction work. Prevailing wage laws not only make veterans more likely to pursue a career in the trades, they also reduce the likelihood of a veteran in construction living in poverty by as much as 30 percent. They promote higher workmanship, safety, and efficiency standards on public construction projects. And by virtue of providing more working families with money to spend in their communities, they are proven to boost job creation across all sectors of the economy.

While these laws were created by Republicans and have long enjoyed broad bipartisan support, many in President-elect Trump’s party are calling for their repeal. Vice President-elect Mike Pence repealed Indiana’s prevailing wage in 2015, and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has gone so far as to hold the entire state budget hostage over a similar demand.

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City will soon be able to revoke permits at unsafe work sites

By Meghan E. Irons GLOBE STAFF
DECEMBER 16, 2016

City officials will soon have the authority to deny, revoke, or suspend a permit for any contractor with a poor record of ensuring their workers’ safety.

The City Council approved the safety measure this week, sending a strong message to anyone pulling permits after two construction workers died in October when a water line burst under a South End street, flooding the trench and thwarting attempts to save the men.

The employees – Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks – worked for Atlantic Drain Services, a Roslindale company that was found to have a long and troubling history of violations, including citations for workers lacking oxygen underground and for conditions that could lead to cave-ins, federal records show.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who filed the ordinance proposal in November, aimed to hold individuals and companies accountable and sought better protection for workers by giving the city the power to intervene on their behalf.

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Illegal ‘underground’ construction costing NJ taxpayers millions, report finds

By: Andrew Polk
Posted: Oct 08, 2016 04:26 PM CDT

The state of New Jersey is losing millions of uncollected tax dollars every year because of a robust and growing underground construction economy, according to a new report by researchers at the Stockton University William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy.

The report finds this illegal construction activity illegally undercuts companies that follow the rules, decreases work opportunities for union workers and may be responsible for the state’s declining construction wages compared to other states.

According to John Froonjian, one of the authors of the Stockton report and a senior research associate and manager of the Stockton Polling Institute, what’s happening is very significant and very costly to the state.

“The construction underground economy, it’s probably worth at least $640 million and our ranges go from half a billion to $1.2 billion dollars and it involves 35,000 workers across New Jersey,” he said.

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Podcast: “Right-to-Work” Regulations and Unions

The Illinois Update
DECEMBER 5, 2016

Episode 3 of For A Living focuses on “right-to-work” laws. The podcast is available on iTunes and on SoundCloud.

What are so-called “right-to-work” laws? What is the historical background of these laws? What are their policy implications for the working class? Where are current political and legal battles occurring?

Professor Robert Bruno, Professor Emily E. LB Twarog, and I are joined by Dale Pierson, a Chicago-area labor lawyer who has served as General Counsel of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 since 2002, to answer these questions.

Thanks for listening!

For A Living is an educational podcast jointly provided by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Mayor Kenney Signs Expansion of Prevailing Wage Legislation (PA)

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2016
Published By: Office of the Mayor
Contact: Mike Dunn, (215) 686-6210

(Philadelphia, October 20, 2016) – Declaring it a vital step for thousands who struggle to make ends meet, Mayor Kenney today signed into law a measure that expands the City’s Prevailing Wage Ordinance to include service workers at publicly-subsidized institutions.

“People usually associate the word ‘poverty’ with ‘unemployment,'” said the Mayor. “But the fact is, a good number of Philadelphians who are employed still find themselves struggling in poverty. This measure marks an important step towards assuring that low-wage employees receive a family-sustaining wage.”

Signed into law was Bill #160713, passed unanimously by Philadelphia City Council on October 6. It expands the Prevailing Wage Ordinance to include service workers at universities, hospitals, stadiums, the Convention Center and other publicly-subsided institutions. With the Mayor’s signature, the bill takes effect immediately, and will be applied to future contracts and agreements between the City and such institutions.

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