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
CBG Annual Conference Success
Last week, CBG had its annual conference at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. In my opinion, this was CBG’s best conference so far. The attendees were a great mix of prime contractors, DBE subcontractors, trades representatives and owners. 

The speakers were dynamic and provided relevant information and insight. Governor Evers kicked off the conference and detailed the significant improvement in the transportation and Capital budgets over the last two budget cycles. WisDOT Secretary Thompson provided data on the substantial number of road miles and bridges that have been improved in the last four years and outlined his plan for immediately utilizing federal infrastructure funds as soon as they are deployed to Wisconsin. 

DWD Secretary-designee Pechacek recapped the work of the Governor’s misclassification task force and explained the substantial internal and inter-agency changes made to improve misclassification enforcement. PSC Chair Valcq gave the attendees insight on the PSC process as it relates to the substantial number of utility scale renewable energy generation projects currently in queue for approval
Panel discussions were lively and interactive. The Senate candidate panel gave attendees the unique opportunity of listening to the leading candidates answer important infrastructure questions. The DBE panel tackled questions surrounding WisDOT’s new good faith waiver requirements for federal highway projects. And, of course, Antonio Freeman told us his inspirational personal story.

In addition to great content, the conference provided opportunities for labor and management, owners and contractors, and general contractors and DBE subcontractors to network and make personal connections. We want to thank all of the speakers and attendees for helping make this year’s conference a success.
Building Wisconsin Together®
What do Nickelodeon and Local 139 Have in Common??

Answer: Externship Day at the Joseph J. Goetz Training Center in Coloma
The April 19th Externship Day was a star-studded event attended by:

  • U.S. DOT Sec. Pete Buttigieg
  • Governor Tony Evers
  • WisDOT Sec. Craig Thompson
  • DWD Sec. Designee Amy Pechacek
  • Nickelodeon TV
  • over 500 students, educators, and parents from over 60 school districts
Developed as day for Wisconsin’s youth to explore the Operating Engineer pathway, this event will gain national attention when it airs on Nickelodeon TV and introduces a rewarding and exciting pathway to students who like working with their hands and making lasting contributions to their communities. A Youth Apprentice working with Boldt is one of the students interviewed by Nickelodeon. 
Five contractors participated in an employer’s roundtable, sharing practical advice with the students on what makes a qualified candidate and how the opportunities for advancement are worth considering. Thank you for your partnership and commitment to joining us for important workforce development outreach events:

Cullen – Mark Ihlenfeldt
Integrity Grading & Excavating – Kyle Beld
Lunda – Mike Hahn & Mark Strohmeyer
Michels Corporation – Jenny Denewelis & Dawn Schmidt
Walbec Group – Dan Eckstrom
Thank you!

An event of this magnitude could not have been possible if it were not for the amazing work of all the dedicated staff at the Training Center and the over 200 apprentices, members and retirees that helped – driving the buses, serving as tour guides, or helping with the simulators and mini-excavators. Special commendation to Kip Gutke who spent countless hours planning and organizing not only the logistics of the groups, setup, food, and busses, but also the outreach to all the volunteers. Truly the success of team effort by all!
“I wanted to send a quick note to thank everyone involved for making the externship experience so amazing, not only for my son and I but for all of the young people who were fortunate to attend. I think you have a lot to be proud of at the 139. We enjoyed our time and learned a lot. The group leaders were all very personable, knowledgeable, and great ambassadors to the industry. My son Aidan has a very big interest in starting the apprenticeship training during his last two years of high school. I can’t thank all of you enough for helping to kindle that goal for his future. Please thank all of those involved on our behalf.”
Building Wisconsin Together®
From the News Stand
Study Shows Limited Impact of Gas Tax Changes at the Pump
On March 29, the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC) released an update of their 2020 report on the impact of changes in state gas tax rates – increases or decreases – on gas prices. An examination of 177 state gas tax changes in 34 states between 2013 and 2021 determined that, on average, just 18 percent of an increase or decrease is passed on in the price of gas in the two weeks following the effective date of a change. This pass-through rate is less than TIAC found in its 2020 study covering 2013-2018 state gas tax changes, which TDA referenced in its blog and factsheet.
The latest report looks specifically at 2021 gas tax rate reductions in New Jersey and Georgia.
“The New Jersey and Georgia cases highlight the negligible effect changing gas tax rates can have on retail gas prices,” ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black said. “That’s why gas tax holidays are not the best policy for rising prices – they take money away from transportation system investment and don’t necessarily stem the pain consumers feel at the pump.”
AG Racine Announces Construction Company Must Pay Over $1 Million to Resolve Workers’ Rights Lawsuit, Including to Impacted Workers
April 6, 2022
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia
The following are excerpts from the press release:
Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced that Dynamic Contracting, Inc., a construction company that specializes in drywall installation, will pay $1,075,070 to workers and the District to resolve allegations that it engaged in a scheme that enabled the company to avoid paying workers their full wages by misclassifying them on construction projects throughout the District. 
“The development of our city too often comes at a cost to workers. Rampant wage theft prevents workers from receiving their hard-earned wages,” said AG Racine. “Employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors unlawfully cheat workers of their fair wages and benefits, including overtime pay and paid sick leave, and strip them of crucial labor protections and programs such as workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. My office will continue to root out the mistreatment of workers in construction and other industries.”
The settlement with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) resolves a 2021 lawsuit against Dynamic; two of Dynamic’s general contractors, Gilbane Building Company and Consigli Construction Company, Inc.; and four of Dynamic’s labor subcontractors for allegedly reducing their costs through misclassifying workers as independent contractors. This scheme deprived workers of overtime pay and paid sick leave, resulting in unlawfully suppressed labor costs that benefited Dynamic and its general contractors.
As part of the settlement, Dynamic is required to:
  • Pay $460,070 to affected workers: Dynamic is required to pay $460,070 total in restitution to over 450 workers. These workers will receive a minimum payment of $500.  

  • Pay $615,000 to the District: Dynamic is required to pay $615,000 to resolve all allegations of worker misclassification and other forms of wage theft.
  • Implement measures to comply with the District’s wage-and-hour laws: Dynamic must implement new policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the District’s minimum wage, overtime, paid sick leave, and worker misclassification laws. Specifically, Dynamic will require its subcontractors in the District to submit certified payrolls confirming compliance with the District’s wage-and-hour laws, conduct randomized audits to ensure compliance, and submit annual reports to the District for the next three years regarding subcontractor compliance.
New Buy America Provisions Take Effect May 14
The Biden administration this week issued initial guidance to implement Buy America provisions from the bi-partisan infrastructure law, with federal agencies facing a May 14 deadline to incorporate the provisions into contracts that involve federal funding.
Buy America has long required domestic manufacturing for iron, steel and certain manufactured products that are permanently incorporated into federal-aid highway and transit projects. Last fall's infrastructure law expanded Buy America to include "construction materials," while explicitly exempting aggregates and other pavement-related material.
This week's notice from the Office of Management & Budget includes "preliminary and non-binding" guidance to assist agencies in determining what is classified as construction material. It also outlines the process used to determine the three types of waivers issued for Buy America provisions -- public interest, non-availability and unreasonable cost waivers.
For more information:
WisDOT's Federal Funding Plan Approved
The Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance voted 14-1 on Tuesday to approve the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT) plan to use additional federal funding for state highways and local roads and bridges. The approximately $283 million in federal funding above 2021-23 budget assumptions comes from the first year of the bipartisan infrastructure law passed last fall and redistributed aid that other states weren't able to utilize.
According to a motion adopted by the committee Tuesday:
  • $123.6 million will be used for State Highway Rehabilitation projects;
  • $83.8 million will be used for local roads;
  • $60.7 million will be used for local bridges;
  • $10.5 million will be used for the Transportation Alternatives Program (bicycle and pedestrian facilities); and
  • $4.3 million will be allocated to the Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality program, which the motion stipulates may only be used for eligible highway right-of-way improvement projects that reduce congestion or improve traffic flow or for eligible traffic signaling improvements.
Regarding the local road projects, WisDOT received 358 applications requesting $263 million by the April 1 deadline for projects to be obligated for construction this year. The agency plans a final review of those applications next Thursday, with the goal of sending notices to selected applicants on Monday, May 9. If selected, local governments will be responsible for submitting PS&E packages to WisDOT by August in order for these projects to be let in November.
The additional funding must be obligated to projects by the end of the current federal fiscal year, Sept. 30.
Construction Business Group | 608-240-4170 |