The Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council, Inc. is dedicated to the advancement of the construction industry and the protection of its members and the general public.
NEWS
Unemployment takes the low road, stock prices take the high road, and a gallon of gas retreats a few cents.
Construction Employers Add 24,000 Jobs in November and 184,000 Over the Year; Hourly Earnings Rise 2.9 Percent as Sector Strives to Draw in New Workers 
 
Construction employment increased by 24,000 jobs in November to the highest level since November 2008, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that tight margins are keeping firms from paying even more to attract hard-to-find workers, noting that efforts to cut tax rates should help lead to higher average hourly earnings for the sector.

"Employment and pay in construction have risen more rapidly over the past year than in the economy overall, as the supply of unemployed, experienced workers continues to shrink," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "With unemployment so low overall and in construction, contractors are likely to have increasing trouble filling many types of hourly craft and salaried openings."
Read full news release  here
Construction Spending Sets Record in October with Monthly Increases in Public and Private Outlays, but Infrastructure Spending Lags 2016 Totals  
 
Overall construction spending reached a record high in October, although public-sector investments in infrastructure continued to lag earlier levels, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said federal, state and local officials should address the growing shortfall in transportation, water and wastewater infrastructure in the interests of economic growth and public health and safety.
"There was healthy growth this October in both public and private construction spending, with an exceptionally strong surge in public educational construction," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "But for the first 10 months of 2017 combined, public investment—specifically in infrastructure—has fallen short of the already inadequate amounts posted in the same period of 2016."
Learn more  here.  
OVCEC Unveils New Publication
The Ohio Valley Construction Council's new Under Cover publication hit mailboxes this week.The new magazine is a bimonthly edition filled with industry news! If you aren't currently on our mailing list, call us at 304-242-0520 and let us know. Interested in advertising? Call Alicia or Mary Jo at the OVCEC office! The new bi-monthly magazine, “ Under Construction, ” is delivered to architects, engineers, inspectors, contractors, local and state government offices, building trade unions and representatives throughout the tri-state area.  Under Construction  will replace our current monthly Construction Report publication.

Under Construction  will be distributed to all OVCEC members as well as members of five other affiliated associations in the tri-state area and  elected officials, municipal building departments, and union representatives. 
 
The OVCEC spans throughout the Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia area, representing more than 400 construction industry professionals in over 25 local trade associations that includes general contractors, specialty and subcontractors, building owners and developers, construction managers and supply and service firms.

LEGISLATIVE NEWS
The Ohio General Assembly will likely be in session for two more weeks before they look to break for the new year. A big focus when legislators return will be on the State Capital Bill. 

State Looks Towards Capital / Infrastructure Bill
The legislation funds capital and infrastructure improvements with state-issued debt. This is obviously good for the construction industry. The tentative plan is for the introduction of the bill in February or early March with anticipated passage by April. The bill will include reappropriations for ongoing projects. The last Capital Bill had $2.62 billion in appropriations, including $160 million in community projects.  This cycle community projects will total roughly $130 million. This is a lower amount of money than what was allocated in the current capital biennium. CEA will be monitoring this bill closely. 

Illegal Immigrants and Ohio Workers Compensation
HB 380 Workers Compensation (Seitz, Householder) prohibits illegal and unauthorized aliens from receiving compensation and certain benefits under Ohio's Workers' Compensation Law. The bill had a second hearing on 11/29/17 at which the bill was amended and passed out of the Ohio House Insurance Committee. The bill's next step would be the House floor. 
The bill prohibits an illegal or unauthorized alien from receiving compensation or benefits under Ohio's Workers' Compensation Law. The legislation was amended in committee to:
Make sure the term illegal alien is consistent throughout the bill  
Make sure Mayors Courts are not venues for jurisdiction of this bill 
Keep in line with changes previously made in the BWC budget 
Instruct BWC not to add more paperwork, but simply add another field on the 1st report injury form
Allow an illegal alien worker that is injured to have their dependent (who is a legal US citizen) receive death benefits. The intent is not to harm legal US citizens.
Similar provisions were placed in the Workers Compensation budget by the House only to be removed by the Senate earlier in the year.  The House will look to vote on this issue in December or January. 
Unemployment Compensation Hearings Continue 

HB 382  Schuring (Unemployment Compensation) is the latest unemployment compensation bill.  The bill has not secured support from either business or labor.  Rep. Schuring stated this legislation is based on the interested party meetings held earlier this year. At the last two hearings, no one testified on the bill. CEA continues to attend hearings and interact with legislators and those in the construction industry to help craft a solution. The legislation had its fifth hearing in the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee on 11/29/17.

HJR 4 Schuring (Unemployment Compensation Bonds)
The resolution would provide for the issuance of bonds to pay unemployment compensation benefits when the fund created for that purpose is or will be depleted or to repay outstanding advances made by the federal government to the unemployment compensation program. The House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee has held five hearings with very little testimony.

House Passed Law Will Aid Employers Outreach At Schools 
HB 98 Career Information (Duffey, Boggs) deals with the presentation of career information to students.
The bill requires school districts to provide two opportunities every school year for employers to make presentations to high school students. The bill had four hearings in the House Education and Career Readiness Committee before it was passed out. It then was voted out of the full House by an 89-0 margin. The legislation will next head to the Senate. 
 
Tax Reform Continues to Move Forward  
 
The Senate passed its version of tax reform legislation on a mostly party line  vote  of 51-49. Prior to the vote, Senate Republicans unveiled a host of  last minute changes  to the legislation, which included an increase of the pass-through deduction from 17.4 percent to 23 percent. Combined with the Senate's proposed individual rate schedule, this would lower the top marginal effective tax rate on pass-through businesses to 29.6 percent. This is a significant improvement compared to the original Senate proposal.
Unfortunately, however, there were some negative changes as well. The final Senate bill reinstated both the corporate and individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), with the individual AMT income thresholds temporarily increased. AGC is very concerned about this development, and we will work with the Congressional tax writers to ensure that the AMT is fully repealed in tax reform.
Members of the House and Senate are meeting to negotiate the  differences  between the House and Senate bills, and eventually produce a conference report, which will then be voted on again by both the House and Senate. Source:AGC.org
SAFETY & EDUCATION
HOW TO WIN COOPERATION AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
Are you a manager or a leader? Managers give orders and gain - at best - robotic compliance. Leaders influence people to their way of thinking and gain enthusiastic cooperation. If you want to be the kind of leader companies want today you need to attend How to Win Cooperation and Influence People. 

At this dynamic half-day seminar you will learn to use Dale Carnegie’s human relations principles made famous in How to win Friends and Influence People - to make people glad to do what you want to do. This is not a seminar in how to manipulate people. Rather it shows you how to build trust in the workplace, create a collaborative work environment and get buy-in because employees support directions they help create. 

These are exactly the skills you need to make it in today’s business environment where teamwork has replaced the old command and control structure. Often, in these team situations, you have no direct authority over the members yet you are expected win their support and get everyone pulling in the same direction. How to win Cooperation and Influence People will help you learn how to use your credibility and positive image to influence people to your point of view and create alignment so you can get the results you want. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to acquire the skills you need to step up to the leadership role you know you deserve. Register for How to Win Cooperation and Influence People today. 
Leadership Training
Registration Fee: $100 
Offered by: OVCEC & Dale Carnegie Training® 
Seminar Location: OVCEC • 21 Armory Drive 
Schedule: Half-Day Seminar 
Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018 
Time: 8 am to 12 pm 
For more information, ovcec@ovcec.com 
Keep Sexual Harassment Out of Your Workplace
Sexual harassment in the workplace is making  front page news . The fallout should serve as a reminder for all employers to make sure their employees have a clear understanding of what  constitutes this conduct and to know it’s not tolerated. The LHSFNA encourages all employers to establish a written policy on sexual harassment that addresses prevention, reporting, investigation and consequences.

What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Workplace sexual harassment  is any unwelcome verbal or physical advance of a sexual nature that creates an offensive, intimidating or hostile atmosphere in the work environment. The person responsible can be a supervisor, a co-worker or even someone from outside of the workplace like a vendor or customer. Harassment can occur on the job or offsite at a job-related function like a meeting or work-related social gathering. A victim can be anyone who is the subject of unwanted behavior or who witnesses the offensive conduct. For example, overhearing sexually explicit comments directed at a co-worker can be harassment even if that co-worker is not offended by the remarks. Read More...
Free Apps to Help Improve Worker Safety and Health


If you search for “construction safety apps” in the app store on your phone or tablet, you’ll get hundreds of options. With so many choices, it can be difficult to separate the helpful apps from the ones that will waste your time and money and end up going unused. We last shared some of our favorite  safety  and  health  apps back in 2014. Here are two recently released free apps that are worth checking out.
Fall Prevention
Harness Hero  – available on  iPhone  and  Android
Year after year, falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in construction. The Fund has written about how employers can  participate  in the annual  National Safety Stand Down  and about the importance of protecting workers during  all aspects of a fall .
The Harness Hero app takes a different approach by creating a game that engages players in the key decisions of using a fall arrest system. Players must choose where to anchor, what type of anchorage device to use, how to set up the harness and what connection device to use. The player also inspects fall protection equipment for burns, rips, rust and other malfunctions. After these decisions, the player encounters a fall. The results will vary depending on how well they set up their fall arrest system – they could see a rescue, a severe injury or even a fatality. Here’s a video of some gameplay from the app:

While fall protection certainly isn’t a game to be taken lightly, the app does a good job of showing that effective fall protection requires a series of correct choices to be made every time a worker faces a fall hazard. Training workers how to use fall protection properly isn’t just a good idea – it’s also a requirement under OSHA’s  fall protection standard . For workers who spend time on bridge projects, there’s also  Harness Hero: Bridge Edition .
For more information about preventing falls on your site, use our  online Publications Catalogue  to order the Fund’s series of toolbox talks on fall protection:
  • Fall Prevention: Guardrail Systems
  • Holes in Flooring and Other Openings
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems
  • Ladder Safety
  • Slips, Trips and Falls

PLAN ROOM NEWS
Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council

Ginny Favede, Executive Director

Telephone 304-242-0520 Fax 304-242-7261 Website  www.ovcec.com
21 Armory Drive Wheeling West Virginia 26003