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See what delivers results and keep up to date with important news topics within our industry.
Wheeling Road Project Rejected Over High Bids
Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that the West Virginia Department of Transportation has rejected bids for a major highway renovation project on Interstate 70 in Wheeling.
“The bids we received were too high and we cannot afford to award contracts if we can’t justify the higher cost,” Justice said in a news release. “So, we will remain prudent in the process while at the same time making sure we get this extremely important work done under my Roads to Prosperity plan.”
The Gazette-Mail  reported in July  that the project had come in $100 million over original cost estimates. Read More...
FirstEnergy Solutions closing its last Ohio and Pennsylvania coal-fired power plants
FirstEnergy's power plant subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions announced it will close the coal-fired W.H. Sammis power plant in Stratton, Ohio, on June 1, 2022. The company has been waiting for the Trump Administration to intervene in competitive wholesale markets and said it could reverse its decision if that happens. FirstEnergy Solutions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Mar. 31 but has said little about its last large coal plants until now.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- FirstEnergy Solutions on Wednesday night announced it plans to close its last Ohio coal-fired power plant, the W.H. Sammis plant on the Ohio River in Stratton, and its last Pennsylvania coal plant, the Bruce Mansfield plant on the River in Shippingport.
The company blamed the regional wholesale markets overseen by grid manager PJM Interconnection. It set June 1, 2021, to close Bruce Mansfield and June 1, 2022 to close Sammis. Read More...
WV Unions Push Back on GOP Economic Arguments
Studies say right-to-work laws don't create jobs and tend to suppress wages. Union workers like pipefitter James Robinette say they can see that on the ground.

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – West Virginia Republicans are running for election on what they describe as the "great" economy. State unions call that putting lipstick on a pig.
Pointing to GOP lawmakers' "pro-growth" policies, state Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, described West Virginia as "America's Comeback Kid"  in a Daily Mail newspaper column . But union pipefitter James Robinette of St. Albans, running for House of Delegates in the 35th District, noted the state's unemployment rate is second-worst in the nation, and said the so-called great economy isn't raising the incomes of ordinary families. "It's smoke and mirrors," Robinette scoffed. "Wages are well below national average – I mean, I don't see any thriving economy here. There's car lots everywhere and plenty of used cars, and nobody's buying them. Nobody's making enough money to survive." Read More...
Dirtiest Man On TV Mike Rowe Takes On America's Skills Gap Problem
As unemployment hovers near historic lows over 80% of construction firms   have reported they are having a hard time finding qualified workers to hire, while the U.S. Department of Education reports that there will be   68% more job openings   in infrastructure-related fields in the next five years than there are people training to fill them. Read More...
The Continuing Rise of Women in Construction
As she took the stage at the annual Women’s Leadership Seminar in Greeley, Colo., in May, Shannon Gustine felt inspired by the group of industry women sitting before her. The attendees were eager to hear about her construction career and rise to director of operations at Hensel Phelps. Gustine was proud of the many women in the room. Attendance had grown from a mere handful when she started 22 years ago to more than 400 strong that day.
Over the past 10 years, the National Association of Women in Construction says the industry has seen a steady increase in the number of women employed. Although only an estimated 9.1% of the construction industry is made up of women, that number is on the rise, and for good reason.  Read More...
Labor shortage has industry at a 'tipping point'
The much-publicized labor shortage isn’t set to ease anytime soon, according to a  newly released survey  conducted jointly by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk. A full 80% of the 2,500 respondents indicated they are having a tough time filling hourly craft positions, and around the same percentages hold true region by region. Fifty-six percent of firms reported difficulties filling salary positions.In addition, 81% of firms responded it will continue to be hard — or even get harder — to find craft workers in the short term, especially given the growing demand for construction workers. From July 2017 to July 2018, construction employment expanded in 281 out of the 358 metro areas AGC tracks.
Workforce shortages – The commodity of skills
Are skilled craft professionals becoming scarce? With the construction industry continuing to expand —  282,000 jobs were added over the past year  — and baby boomers retiring, the answer is overwhelmingly yes. By 2030, millennials, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, are predicted to make up  75 percent of the global workforce , which makes sense as the last of the baby boomers are set to turn 65 in 2029. The industry does not have the luxury to be nonchalant about the impending changes facing us with an estimated shortage of 1.5 million workers by 2021. Read More...
Statehouse Beat: No experience necessary? How's that working?
“Help wanted. No experience necessary.”
At one time, that meant an entry-level job that required a maximum amount of labor and minimal amount of training, not unlike when I started working after school at McDonald’s 45 years ago this fall.
Lately, though, in politics, we’ve not only stopped putting a premium on experience, but have reached the point where experience has practically become a detriment. Read More...
Legislative Update
Ohio Part of Pension Debate
The United States House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Pensions held a field hearing at the Ohio Statehouse. Congressional members heard from employers, employees, and retirees. Some of those that testified included:
  • Mike Walden, president of the National United Committee to Protect Pensions and a retiree of Teamsters Local 24
  • Larry Ward, a retiree of the United Mine Workers of America
  • Brian Sloan, apprentice instructor at Millwright Local 1090
Witnesses testified that the Central States Teamsters Pension Plan, the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Ironworkers Local 17 Pension Plan, the Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan and the Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan are all at risk. Some of those that testified offered freezing all multi-employer pension plans with a certain level of underfunding and allowing companies to withdraw from multi-employer pension funds without liability.
Senate Concurrent   Resolution 27 (Yuko, Brown) 
With attention focused on pension issues, SCR 27 was introduced. The resolution urges Congress to enact the Butch Lewis Act of 2017.   It mentions that about 130 multiemployer plans are at risk of insolvency during the next 20 years, jeopardizing the pension benefits of over 1 million workers, retirees, and survivors.  The resolution highlights that the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (S. 2147). S. 2147 creates the Pension Rehabilitation Administration to provide loans to qualified insolvent or underfunded multiemployer plans to be used to pay pension benefits and invest to improve the plan's financial position.  Some of the local State Senators that have signed onto the bill include Senator Kenny Yuko, Mike Skindell, Vernon Sykes, and Sandra Williams.
Safety and Education
Construction Accounting Risk at Macro and Project Levels
Payment Challenges and Failure Rates in Construction Industry Are High
Historically, construction industry participants have had a remarkably challenging time getting paid, getting paid on time and even staying in business. Since the vast majority of construction materials and labor is furnished to a job on credit, and the number of project participants can be large (resulting in a very complex and interconnected payment chain), any slight hiccup in payment anywhere on the project has compounding ripple effects. These ripple effects can be enough to sink construction companies operating on razor-thin margins. Read More...
Paying the Price of Employee-perpetuated Workers' Compensation Fraud
Joe hurt his back on the job and is out on leave. Four weeks later, after a rigorous bout of physical therapy, his doctor cleared him to return to work in a modified capacity. The issue is that Joe doesn’t like his job, nor does he want to return to the modified duty position. By staying home from work, is Joe malingering? Is he committing workers’ compensation fraud? 

Yes he is.

Of the three types of worker's compensation fraud – employer, vendor and employee fraud – the latter is the most talked about, comprising 20 percent of annual WC claims paid. Read More...
Safety Tool Box Talk
Plan Room News
What Is the OVCEC Plan Room?
  • It is a conveniently located source of construction plans for the Ohio Valley area
  • It publishes a weekly Construction Report listing projects out for bid, due dates, apparent low bidders and contracts awarded
  • It provides updates on projects throughout the week by email
  • It provides online access to plans and specifications for your review and downloading
  • It provides bidders lists
  • It has staff that will get the plans you need whenever possible

Submit Plans & Specs
As an Owner or Architect of a project, placing your project plans in the OVCEC Plan Room will help to insure the success of your project.
The Plan Room will:
  • Help you publicize your project
  • Increase the quantity and quality of bids you receive for your project
  • Help you get addenda out to bidders
  • Reduce your cost of blueprint duplication by allowing electronic submission to Plan Room Online