March 21 2018
Congress close to reaching $1.3 trillion spending deal
Congressional lawmakers are closer to an agreement on a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill in advance of a Friday government shutdown deadline, according to  Politico . For the most part, leaders from both parties and the White House are foregoing attempts at attaching pet policy-issue riders to the bill and are setting aside partisan sticking points. However, Republican lawmakers have been slow to ratchet down their demands for a $25 billion border wall funding provision in exchange for a 2.5-year hold on Dreamer deportations, according to the  Associated Press . Some Democrats are also pushing back on the removal of a $900-million Hudson River tunnel funding provision, even though President Donald Trump said he would veto any bill that included it. Read More...
The Dotted Line: How to develop a collaborative team that wins bids

It takes a wide variety of expertise and skills for major projects to be completed successfully, which typically means on budget and on schedule. However, the collaboration between designers, contractors and other specialists critical to the job doesn’t always begin after the contracts have been issued or when crews get ready to take the first shovels to dirt. Sometimes the team comes together for the bidding process. Read More...
20 hearings - yes, 2-0 - but no deal to secure Ohio’s unemployment fund
Legislation aimed at ensuring the state unemployment compensation fund doesn’t run out of money again reached a highly unusual 20th committee hearing on Wednesday.
But that doesn’t mean the bill has been hotly debated. The vast majority of those hearings have featured exactly zero witnesses.
As he called up the bill and corresponding resolution again on Wednesday, Rep. Bill Blessing, R-Cincinnati, chairman of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, joked that it might be a record for number of hearings.
Asked later about point of bringing up the bill every week knowing no one plans to testify, Blessing didn’t try to invent an answer.
“Good question. Just to keep it alive, I guess. I don’t really have a reason,” Blessing said.
The vast majority of bills, even the most controversial and complicated, have 10 or fewer hearings. So the fact that unemployment compensation is on No. 20, not counting the hearings it would get in the Senate if the House were to pass it, is odd.
Perhaps House leadership is trying to remind labor and business that they haven’t forgotten about the issue — though it’s one lawmakers have avoided dealing with for years. Lately, in committee at least, its weekly place on the schedule has become a running joke. Read More...
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ANNOUNCES NEW PROGRAM TO EXPEDITE PAYMENT TO AMERICAN WORKERS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is announcing a new pilot program, the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which expedites resolution of inadvertent overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The PAID program will ensure that more employees receive back wages they are owed—faster. Employees will receive 100 percent of the back wages paid, without having to pay any litigation expenses, attorneys’ fees, or other costs that may be applicable to private actions. 
The PAID program facilitates resolution of potential violations, without litigation, and ensures employees promptly receive the wages they are owed. Under this program, the Wage and Hour Division will oversee resolution of the potential violations by assessing the amount of wages due and supervising their payment to employees. Read More...
This study breaks down the business case for an Appalachian cracker
A new study by IHS Markit and a nonprofit organization marketing the Appalachian natural gas region is pressing the case that building more ethane crackers in the region is cheaper for the industry than a similar new facility on the Gulf Coast.
The study from IHS and Shale Crescent USA goes beyond a previous study by IHS Markit, sponsored last year by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, that said Appalachia has enough ethane to supply up to five crackers. Ethane, a byproduct of natural gas production, is a critical element in the manufacture of plastics.

"The delivery costs are about 23 percent lower overall in Appalachia than they would be from Gulf suppliers"

"It's that unassailable location (of Appalachia) ... that gives us a huge advantage," said  Jerry James  of Shale Crescent USA. Read More...
Create a Habit of Proactive Decision-making
Andy is a senior leader for the service arm of a well-known north Texas construction firm. Andy does his best to get out in front of the “firefights” that are so common in the construction world. In fact, he leads his team through annual business planning to define goals for the next year. But even with this effort, Andy always used to find himself in a reactive mode. Though he created a business plan, he was always behind and his team was always off track.
Up to this point, Andy didn’t realize that business plans are only as good as the daily decisions that are required to carry them out. The best plans are made with the best intentions. But the contractor’s everyday decision-making habits often short-circuit their best plans. Andy hadn’t yet been introduced to the simple solution of making one proactive decision per day.
The action items in Andy’s business plan are color coded:
  • green = complete
  • yellow = on track
  • red = stalled or late
Andy started each new year with on track action items and excitement for the opportunities ahead. But each year, at his mid-year check-in, at least 1/3 of his action items were in the red (stalled or late). What went wrong? Read More...
SAFETY AND EDUCATION
OSHA Will Enforce Beryllium Standard Starting in May

OSHA will start enforcement of the  final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium  in construction, shipyard, and general industries on May 11, 2018. The start of enforcement had previously been set for March 12, 2018. In response to feedback from stakeholders, the agency is considering technical updates to clarify and simplify compliance. In the interim, if an employer fails to meet the new exposure limits, OSHA will inform the employer and offer assistance to ensure compliance. For more information, read the  news release .
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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