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

Governor Walker's Lack of Loyalty is Coming Back to Haunt Him

Governor Walker has not kept his word to the Wisconsin construction industry. Even though the construction industry supported him in many of his election bids-including his recall election-Governor Walker turned on the industry, genuflecting to the national political agenda of a handful of billionaires.
The string of broken commitments to the industry is long. Right to work legislation, which he said would not happen in Wisconsin, passed shortly after his second term began. Prevailing wage repeal legislation, which he swore would never hit his desk, hit his desk. Governor Walker not only signed prevailing wage repeal, but loudly celebrated the signing. Responsible transportation development and funding failed to materialize. Borrowing is out of control, and our children will be saddled with debt payments for years to come. Local governments are unfairly blamed for not being good stewards of public transportation money. And, the scant state funds that exist are funneled to pet projects. Once called "partners" during a fireside chat, trade organizations are now vilified in an effort to make Governor Walker appear as a warrior as opposed to a career politician.
The construction industry isn't alone. Governor Walker has broken many other promises. He failed to create 250,000 jobs. He failed to lift the nuclear moratorium. He never delivered on his promise to require audits of annual fish and wildlife counts, resulting in miserable deer herd management. He failed to strip policy and pork from the budget and instead turned the budget process into a virtual buffet of handouts for those who manage to still enjoy his political favor.
The lack of loyalty and failure to keep his word, however, is starting to haunt Governor Walker. Two of Governor Walker's former agency secretaries have publicly endorsed his 2018 election opponent, Department of Public Institution Secretary Tony Evers. Former Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall accused Governor Walker of failing to address problems Wall raised with a youth corrections facilities. Wall also claimed he was strongly encouraged NOT to create public records.

Building Wisconsin Together ®
80% of contractors still having a hard time hiring workers

The Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk released the 2018 Workforce Survey Results that validate the continued concerns of recruiting skilled craft workers.  CBG remains committed to assisting contractors with meeting this critical need and are supporting a number of upcoming events that we encourage contractors to participate in.

October is National Careers in Construction Month.  This is an ideal time to reach out in your communities to:
For more information on the online pre-apprenticeship program or any of the recommendations above, please contact Laura Cataldo at 608-616-2835 or [email protected]
Industry News and Updates
From the News Stand
Contractor Ricardo Batres Charged with Labor Trafficking, Revealing Immigrant Worker Abuse

September 26, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS - Yesterday local authorities executed a search warrant and arrested Ricardo Batres, the owner of American Contractors and Associates (ACA).

At a Wednesday press conference, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges against Batres.

"We have charged Batres, 46, of Crystal, with one count of labor trafficking, one count of insurance fraud and one count of theft by swindle. We allege that he sought out undocumented workers as employees of his contracting company to do framing carpentry and installing sheet rock. Because they were undocumented and fearful of deportation, Mr. Batres paid them less, worked them harder, put some of them in overcrowded housing without hot water and did not provide medical benefits," Freeman said. "We will vigorously prosecute Mr. Batres and we hope this serves as a warning to developers and general contractors to not turn a blind eye to this kind of illegal activity."

The charges are the result of a lengthy investigation into workplace abuses documented by workers with the support of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), a South Minneapolis low-wage worker-led organization that fights for fair wages and working conditions in the Twin Cities metro area. Information was also provided to the commerce department's Fraud Bureau by labor unions and The Advocates for Human Rights. Notably, this is one of the first times a labor trafficking charge has been brought in Minnesota.

Bad Roads Cost Wisconsin $6.8 Billion Annually 

A new report out estimates that Wisconsin drivers lose $6.8 billion each year to car repairs and other costs, accidents and time stuck in traffic because of worsening road conditions.  TRIP, a national transportation advocacy group, said Tuesday that 50% of major roads and highways in Wisconsin are rated in poor or mediocre condition.  Road ratings were even worse in the five cities covered by the report.  The cost to the average driver ranges from $1,219 each year in Eau Claire to $2,322 in Milwaukee.

Building Wisconsin - Keeping Wisconsin Moving

Keep Wisconsin Moving is a report completed by the Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission to help Wisconsin find a long term funding solution for the State's transportation system.  Building Wisconsin TV Host Stuart Keith meets with commission members Robb Kahl, Craig Thompson and Mark Gottlieb, to learn more about the report and its recommendations.  To view or download the report - Click Here.

To watch the TV show, click here .

UIAC Seeks Input on Changes to Wisconsin's UI Program   
The Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council (UIAC) is a ten-member committee comprised of five employee representatives and five employer representatives. State law requires the UIAC to submit its recommended changes to Wisconsin's Unemployment Insurance (UI) law to the State Legislature during every biennial legislative session.
The UIAC is now accepting public comment on suggested reforms to Wisconsin's UI program and we encourage everyone to share their concerns, ideas and suggestions.
Comments may be sent by email to [email protected] or mailed to:
Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council
Attn: Janell Knutson, Chair
P.O Box 8942
Madison, WI 53708
The UIAC will also take public comments at a statewide public hearing on November 15, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The hearing will be administered in Madison and broadcast live through web video at the following locations throughout the state:
Eau Claire:     UW-Eau Claire, Centennial Hall, Room 1804 
                       1698 Park Avenue
Green Bay:     UW-Green Bay, Instructional Services, Room 1034
                       2420 Nicolet Drive
La Crosse:      UW-La Crosse, Wing Technology Center, Room 102
                       1705 State Street
Madison:        UW-Extension, The Pyle Center
                       702 Langdon Street
Milwaukee:     UW-Milwaukee, Kenwood Research Complex, Room 2175
                       3135 North Maryland Avenue
Superior:        WITC-Superior, Campus Room 101D
                       600 North 21st Street
Wausau:         NCTC Center for Business & Industry, Room 127
                       1000 West Campus Drive

New Studies Show That Stronger Unions Produce Faster Wage Growth  

State-Level Comparison Highlights Negative Effects of Wisconsin's Anti-Labor Push

Chicago: A trio of new research studies from the Midwest show that states that have resisted austerity measures and attacks on labor standards are producing better wage growth. 
Produced by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute with researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of California-Irvine, the annual State of the Unions Research series profiles unionization rates and hourly wages in Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin
Based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Census Bureau, the studies offer a comparative window into the economic effects of different state-level approaches to labor and economic policy.

"While the rise of right-to-work laws and other national economic trends are no doubt impacting unionization and wage growth, differences in state-level policymaking can either accelerate or blunt these broader trends," said Midwest Economic Policy Institute Policy Director Frank Manzo IV. "Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota have each chosen distinct paths, and the data shows that the Wisconsin model has produced the lowest wages and stagnant wage growth." 

Upcoming Events
Turnout for Transportation Election 2018 Fall Forums
Wisconsin needs a long-term, sustainable transportation plan!

We have made great progress elevating transportation to a top-tier issue. But as Wisconsinites get ready to head to the polls, we need to keep transportation top of mind.

Please attend one or more of the following forums to hear from candidates for office and local business people and learn what you can do.

The dates and locations of the forums are as follows:
Please RSVP using the links above. There is no cost, and attendance is open to all.

Thanks for your support.

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