Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates.  This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director  Robb Kahl and
General Counsel Cindy Buchko
 
Putting "Responsible" Back Into the "Lowest Responsible Bidder" Standard in Public Contracting
 
Generally, public construction projects must be competitively bid and awarded to the "lowest responsible bidder." See Wis. Stat. §§ 16.75, 23.41(5), 38.18, 43.17(9), 59.52(29), 59.70(13), 62.15(1) and (6), 61.54, 62.15(1) and (6), 60.47(3), 66.0901, 83.04, 85.077(1), 86.31(2), 86.51(4), or 88.62(1). The statutes and state administrative  regu lations 
  provide  little, if any, meaningful guidance on what constitutes  " responsible" bidder. 

As a result, many public project owners are reluctant to award 
the work to anyone other than the lowest bidder, even if there is good reason to believe that the lowest bidder may end up costing the taxpayers more in the long run due to poor work quality, project delays and change orders.
 
Public project owners do not want to risk being sued and are concerned about project delays caused by a lawsuit. These risks, however, can be mitigated to a large degree by both understanding the law and creating a proper administrative record of the bid award decision.


Building Wisconsin Together ®
Badger Yellow Ribbon Outreach to Veterans


Leroy Miller, Business Agent for IUOE Local 139, and Dan Eckstrom, Human Resources Business Partner at Walbec Group, recently attended a National Guard Reintegration event in Milwaukee for 100 returning military members and their families.
 
Leroy and Dan, themselves both veterans, were able to share their personal stories and promote the great career opportunities available to veterans with Wisconsin Operating Engineers. 

Badger Yellow Ribbon Support Specialist Matt Marose shared the following feedback:

"Even if folks don't necessarily write it down, I want you to know I have heard VERY positive feedback regarding your brief and how raw and emotional it is. Most anyone can relate in one way, shape or form (myself included and I'm an Air Force guy). Keep up the GREAT WORK! 

Struggles with work, substance abuse, and PTSD are at the
heart of a majority of the issues throughout the DoD and I think the first-hand account you and your reps bring forth is invaluable. As a matter of fact one of our attendees said "Those guys are f***ing awesome" when you were done briefing... and then one of my support staff members repeated that same phrase later in the day. Watching the faces of the people in the room and all of the nods throughout the briefing, I know your message is well received. I appreciate the wonderful job you do and am thankful for your continued support." 


 
Thank you Leroy and Dan for sharing your personal stories and promoting the industry to our returning veterans. 

Industry News and Updates
Upcoming Events
Save the Date for 
CBG Winter Conference
 
March 5-6, 2020
Kalahari Resort
Wisconsin Dells, WI
 
Click here for further information.
 
RSVP for this FREE conference to p.barlow@cbgwi.com
 or 608-240-4178.
 


AGC Industry Advancement Program Sponsors Mark Breslin

REGISTER SOON...SPACE IS FILLING UP!!

The AGC Industry Advancement Program Board of Directors is pleased to bring this training opportunity to Wisconsin.

AGC Signatory Members, AGC IAP Contributors and other Signatory Contractors are encouraged and invited to attend " The Five Minute Foreman" program presented by Mark Breslin. Breslin is noted as the number one speaker in the nation on construction leadership strategy and labor-management relations.

There are two optional program locations:

     1)  Wednesday, June 5, 2019; Noon - 5:00 p.m.
          Harley-Davidson of Madison, 6200 Millpond Road
     2)  Thursday, June 6, 2019; 7 a.m. - Noon
          Liberty Hall, 800 Eisenhower Drive, Kimberly

AGC Members & AGC IAP Contributors: No charge
All others: $200 per person

Who should attend? Company Executives, Superintendents, Foremen, Future Leaders, High potential apprentices
  
Click here for the registration flyer, and more details.


From the News Stand
OPINION: Prevailing-wage repeal, not as benign as some would have you believe

By: Dan Shaw 
May 3, 2019 11:48 am
 
Prevailing-wage laws require that construction workers on public construction projects be paid the wages and benefits offered on similar jobs performed by local Wisconsin workers.
 
This is by no means an extreme idea. In fact, in a recent poll, 83% of the respondents who identified themselves as likely Wisconsin voters said they believe that bid prices for public works should take into account wages and benefits that are comparable to those paid in the same trades elsewhere in the state. Sixty-one percent specifically said they support prevailing-wage laws.
 

WI DWD Holds Worker Misclassification Roundtable (WI)

05/14/19
WorkersCompensation.com
 
Waukesha, WI  - The Department of Workforce Development (DWD), in collaboration with State Council of Carpenters and Painting and Allied Trades, held a Worker Misclassification Roundtable in Waukesha yesterday to gather information and input on the issue of Worker Misclassification in Wisconsin. The roundtable was hosted by Building Services Incorporated.
 
"Under Governor Evers, the rights of workers are first and foremost, and by ensuring that employees are properly classified, we are providing workers with the confidence that in the event of a separation or workplace issue, they will have proper supports in place," DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said. "The input of our employer partners and other stakeholders on this issue is absolutely vital as we move forward with implementing Governor Evers' Joint Taskforce to combat Worker Misclassification and Payroll fraud."

State Tax Collections Exceed Expectations

State lawmakers rely on economists from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and analysts from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) to provide timely and accurate projections of state tax revenue collections. These estimates are based on actual tax collections and national economic forecasts.
 
Recently, the LFB advised lawmakers that state tax collections are projected to be higher than previously estimated by $592 million in 2018-19, $68 million in 2019-20 and $93 million in 2020-21. The LFB attributes the projected increase to "unexpected strength in state individual and corporate tax collections."
 
As a result of these revised estimates, the State of Wisconsin is projected to end the current two-year budget cycle (June 30, 2019) with a $1 billion surplus and $616 million set aside in the Rainy-Day fund. Shortly after the LFB issued its report, the Governor and legislative leaders signaled their plans for the allocation of the $753 million in so-called "new money." 
  • Governor Evers made an additional $56 million payment on existing state taxpayer funded debt thereby saving nearly $70 million in debt service payments. The Governor also requested an additional $15 million for worker training and an additional $18 million to the Wisconsin Technical College System. 
  • Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) indicated that Assembly Republicans would put these dollars toward providing tax relief, growing the Rainy-Day fund and paying down debt. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) noted the new revenue projections puts the State of Wisconsin in a great position to cut taxes, make smart investments in infrastructure, and maintain a strong closing balance.

Justice Roggensack to lead Wisconsin Supreme Court

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is composed of seven justices who are elected in statewide, non-partisan elections. The Chief Justice is elected for a term of 2 years by a majority vote of the sitting Justices and serves as the administrative head of Wisconsin's judicial system.
 
Recently, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack was re-elected to a third consecutive term.


My Turn: The conservative case for a prevailing wage (NH)

By TROY MERNER
Published: 5/8/2019 12:10:20 AM
 
There's an old saying that the best social welfare program is a "good-paying job with excellent benefits," and I couldn't possibly agree more. While most elected officials agree with this idea in principle, we often disagree on the best path forward. New Hampshire has some of the best-trained and hardest workers in the country, and it's high time we treated them accordingly. This is why I'm asking my fellow Republicans to support Senate Bill 271 and finally establish a prevailing wage in New Hampshire.
 
Prevailing wage law states that contractors must offer competitive wages and benefits on taxpayer-funded projects. This accomplishes two things: First, it ensures that public projects enjoy a quality of workmanship that cut-rate contractors cannot provide, saving taxpayers millions of dollars over the long term. Second, it affords locally trained New Hampshire workers the ability to work close to home. Many of our best-trained workers are forced to seek employment in neighboring states where prevailing wage ensures that pay is higher, while local construction jobs go to out-of-state contractors offering a lower quality of service.


Games Contractors and Subs Play - Thinking about Playing the Wage Theft Game? Think Again

by Jim Kollaer | May 23, 2019
 
We have posted in the past about the Wage Theft Game and how rampant it is in construction around the globe. Globally, this game is played through the use of forced labor, conscripted labor, labor trafficking and a variety of other less than honest methods. Government officials in some second and third tier countries around the globe take bribes, kick-backs, endorse nepotism, make deals with the cartels and generally use a variety of illegal and underhanded methods to get projects built. Those projects range in size from major infrastructure projects such as bridges, dams, highways to palaces, second homes, schools and individual homes.
 
So, it is no wonder that many Contractors and Subs have either borrowed or brought with them the methods of the Wage Theft Game to the construction industry in the United States. Owners and investors may or may not know that these games are being played on their projects and we thought that we would reiterate some of the ways that Wage Theft games are being played on projects in your local market so that you would recognize it when you see it being played.


Westchester County Wage Theft Trial Makes History (NY)

By Teresa Santiago and Alice Kenny
Posted on May 15, 2019
 
First Case to Appear in Federal Court Wins Maximum Amount
 
In a history-making event, justice finally came to three day laborers whose wages had been stolen by their employer, thanks to significant intervention by Catholic Charities NY.  A jury determined last Thursday, May 9, 2019, that TDL Restoration Inc. and its relating contractor company, TDL Management Corp., stiffed three of its employees for thousands of hours worked.  The contractor did not pay the men regular wages nor overtime and when it issued paychecks they often bounced.  Not only did the jury find in favor of the plaintiffs, ... on all questions, but they are expected to be awarded the maximum damages permissible, close to $300,000, for violations of Federal and State labor laws. 
 
"We were scared," said Mr. Vicente.  "They tried to intimidate us and belittle us."


U.S. Department of Labor Recovers $2,772,977 For 6,450 Disaster Recovery Workers

Agency- Wage and Hour Division
Date - May 8, 2019
Release Number - 19-0721-NEW
 
PHILADELPHIA, PA - After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), WSP USA Services Inc. - based in Winchester, Virginia, and doing business as WSP USA Inspection Services, Inc. - has paid $2,772,977 in back wages to 6,450 employees for violating the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
 
Under contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), WSP USA Services Inc. performed disaster-related housing inspections in U.S. territories and states - including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California - following hurricanes and other natural disasters.
 

Texas bill would create public database of wage thieves (TX)

Written by Ryan Johnston
MAY 3, 2019 | STATESCOOP
 
Under a new bill making its way through the Texas legislature, the state would create a publicly searchable database of companies and employers that commit wage theft - a serious problem in a state that only sees 50 percent of offenders pay back stolen wages.
 
The bill, introduced last November by Democratic state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, would require the state's workforce commission to maintain the database of offenders. Wage theft can take different forms, such as employers skimping on overtime for hourly workers or paying below minimum wage, which has been $7.25 per hour in Texas since 2009.


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