Construction Officials Urge Congress to Quickly Pass New Coronavirus Relief Measure and Start Work on Broader Recovery Measures, Including New Infrastructure Funding and Pension Relief
The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to proposed legislation that will provide an additional $310 billion in funding for Paycheck Protection Program loans to help small businesses retain jobs:
“The new loan funding will help thousands of construction firms to retain essential construction jobs amid rapidly declining demand for construction services. As one of the relatively few sectors of the…Read full article here.
A Message from AGC-GM Chief Executive Officer Mike Fabishak:
For your information, I have attached Emergency Order #31 and to various documents regarding Governor Ever’s recent three-phase plan to re-open the state’s economy. Much of his plan anticipates a gradual re-opening based on a continued reduction in coronavirus cases over a two-week time period. Additionally, similar to many other states in the country, there will be a substantial increase in testing (12,000 daily) so as to identify any individual who display the virus’s symptoms. That will then be followed up with contact tracing and tracking for any individual who can transmit the virus to make sure they are not doing so.
Again, I would like to remind you to be extremely vigilant in observing the various coronavirus safety protocols we have emailed to you, as well as placed on our AGC-GM website over the past 5 weeks. Unlike many other industries, we were allowed to continue working through this pandemic, so therefore, we must continue to be very watchful to protect the health and wellbeing our the individuals in our industry.
Thank you and stay healthy,
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Below is the new Safer at Home Executive Order recently issued by Governor Evers through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. This action extends the Safer at Home Order from April 24, 2020 to May 22, 2020, unless a overriding order is issued.
Associated General Contractors of America Organized the Nationwide Safety Stand Down to Make Sure Firms and Workers Know, and Follow, All Coronavirus-Related Safety Procedures and Practices
Hundreds of construction firms across the country are stopping work today to hold what are called safety stand downs focusing on ways to protect construction workers and the public from the spread of coronavirus. The safety stand down, which was organized by the Associated General Contractors of America, was designed to make sure firms and workers are taking measures outlined by public health and safety officials to protect workers on active construction sites and the public.
“Construction firms across the country understand that the public is counting on them to protect workers and nearby communities from the spread of the coronavirus,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Today’s safety stand downs were designed to make sure everyone working in construction knows, and follows, coronavirus safety measures.”
Association Officials Urge Quick Enactment of Infrastructure Investment, Relief for Hard-Hit Firms and Pensions in Order to Save Jobs in Construction and Supplier Industries
More than a quarter of construction firms responding to an online survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America last week reported they had furloughed or terminated jobsite workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. The finding contrasts starkly with the association’s analysis of government data released today that showed a majority of the nation’s metro areas added construction jobs through February.
“The metro-level employment data show that construction was still growing strongly in many parts of the country in February, immediately before the pandemic forced contractors to shut down projects and…Read full article here.
We are asking AGC of America members across the country to hold a nationwide coronavirus safety stand down at job sites on Thursday, April 9th. Click here to view a special message from AGC of America CEO Stephen E. Sandherr on why you should participate. If you haven’t already participated in safety stand downs like the one organized earlier by the AGC of California, these stand downs will provide an opportunity for you to make sure that everyone working on your job sites understands, and follows, all relevant safety guidelines provided by public health and safety officials. Please click here for resources to assist you in planning your stand-down event. We are also asking you to let us know if you plan to participate in the stand down, how many workers will be involved, and if you would be willing to allow the media to observe your stand downs. Just fill out this form, click here to let us know what you plan to do.
A Message from AGC-GM Chief Executive Officer Mike Fabishak:
I am writing to provide you the details of the provisions associated with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which just went into effect and expires on December 31, 2020. This Act passed by Congress and signed by the President applies to private employers with fewer that 500 employees and provide the leave benefits to employees of covered employers.
Thank you and as I learn of any new developments, I’ll be in contact with you.
The federal government recently released a list detailing “critical infrastructure industries” whose workers are “essential” and should continue normal work schedules. Although the document lists industries for which construction is absolutely critical, our industry was not explicitly included. Even though the list “is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself,” some states have/are considering it for determining which industries can go to work amid state and local COVID-19 responses to shelter in place, among other policies.
AGC of America has continually sought to make clear that our industry is essential to responding to and recovering from this virus in the following ways:
- Received broad media coverage of its release detailing how counter intuitive it is to shut down construction projects and the industry itself during a pandemic.
- Partnered with the buildings trades unions in a joint release—showing that management and labor agree—that construction must be included as an essential service able to operate during COVID-19-related shutdowns.
- Partnered with construction business organizations in a letter to the White House in underscoring the essential need for the construction industry to work during this crisis.
Communicated to the Republican and Democratic Governors’ Associations these same messages.
Please join us in telling President Trump and Congress to treat the construction industry and the work it performs as vital and essential to the critical industries that must remain in operation to respond to this pandemic and crises to come. To ensure this is the case, the federal government must issue guidance classifying construction as a critical infrastructure industry whose workers are essential. Click here and simply submit the pre-written message as is to President Trump and your members of Congress or customize it with personal information on how this issue impacts you and your employer. You can view the real-time activity on this action alert here.
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, effective today, April 1, 2020.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also issued “COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses FAQs”. FFCRA provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related…Read Full Article Here.
Survey Finds Contractors Face Shortages of Materials and Workers, Delivery Delays and Cancellations; Association Officials Urge Additional Measures to Help Workers, Firms and the Economy to Recover
Construction spending in February increased 6.0 percent from February 2019, with year-over-year gains in both residential and nonresidential outlays, according to a new analysis of federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that their latest survey shows conditions for contractors have deteriorated rapidly since February. They called on Congress to urgently pass targeted recovery measures to boost infrastructure funding, compensate firms for lost or delayed federally funded work, and provide needed pension relief.
“Spending in February declined 1.3 percent from an upwardly revised, exceptionally strong pace in January that was aided by unusually mild winter weather in much of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Together, the rate in the first two months of 2020 represents a high-water mark immediately before government officials ordered widespread business closures and project owners canceled or halted work on their sites. The survey we conducted March 23 to 26 found that 39 percent of the more than 1600 respondents said they had been directed to stop work on one or more projects.”
On Mar. 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued a new, temporary enforcement discretion policy for certain noncompliance events that can be documented and tied to the COVID-19 epidemic. U.S. EPA has emphasized that this new policy is not a “license to pollute.” The enforcement discretion is intended to address challenges in staffing that facilities or laboratories will likely face during the COVID-19 epidemic, which may constrain certain activities required by federal permits, including: compliance monitoring, sampling, reporting, “wet” signatures, or training as some of the listed examples. The policy applies to specified federal programs, states may take a different approach related to compliance and enforcement during the pandemic.
According to the U.S. EPA press release, “[t]he temporary policy makes it clear that EPA expects regulated facilities to comply with regulatory requirements, where reasonably practicable, and to return to compliance as quickly as possible. To be eligible for enforcement discretion, the policy also requires facilities to document decisions made to prevent or mitigate… Read Full Article Here.
Miss one of the AGC’s 8-part coronavirus webinar series? No need to worry, we’ve got you covered with PDFs of the presentations below!
“Navigating the Outbreak: Factors that Construction Companies Neet to Consider, as They Strive for Business Continuity” (8 Parts)
The Associated General Contractors (AGC) chapters of Wisconsin and Greater Milwaukee have partnered to declare April 6-10, 2020 as “COVID-19 Safety Stand-Down Week” in Wisconsin.
This declaration is in response to a recent meeting between AGC contractors and Governor Evers. During the March 31st meeting, Governor Evers emphasized that “Safety is Job #1” during this time of crisis. Governor Evers also stressed the important role that construction plays in Wisconsin’s economy and is committed to keeping construction going as an essential business.
Contractors across the state are encouraged to hold a daily (5-10 minute) Safety Stand-Down to educate and inform their workers on preventing the spread of COVID-19 on the job site. The AGC will provide contractors with topics for daily educational and informational Tool Box Talks to discuss with their workforce. The Safety Stand-Down Week is just one of many ways the AGC’s of Wisconsin and Greater Milwaukee are working with member contractors to educate and promote COVID-19 safe job sites.
Need help crafting content for your Safety Stand-Down? Check out these great resources!