May 8, 2020

GENERAL NEWS
New Survey Shows 375,000 Construction Jobs Lost in April
 
Construction employment declined by 975,000 jobs in April as a new survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and data from construction technology firm Procore show deteriorating demand for construction, officials with the association announced today. 

Hear more from AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson here.
Action Alert: Protect Construction Jobs
 
Tell the Trump Administration and Congress to fix Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to save construction jobs. Confusing guidance from the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA), and inflexible rules written by Congress threaten the ability of construction businesses to access, hold onto, and use PPP loans to protect construction jobs.  

TAKE ACTION NOW
Buying a Union Business
 
The series will discuss transactions where the buyer is a union business and transactions when the seller is a union business. This first article focuses on the acquisition of a business whose employees are represented by a labor union.  Learn more

Written by 
Phyllis Karasov, Larkin Hoffman
LEGISLATIVE NEWS
Be Ready to Act: Final Push for Infrastructure Bill

On Tuesday, May 5th, state officials provided an update on economic conditions that estimated an almost $4 billion swing from February. Just a few months ago, the State had a projected $1.513 billion surplus. Now, the pandemic and economic downturn see the state with a $2.4 billion deficit. Minnesota has almost the same amount in budget reserves. MnDOT has provided a more detailed snapshot on the interim budget projections for transportation funds as well. 

Now, more than ever, Minnesota needs an infrastructure bill to stimulate the economy. AGC members should be prepared to respond to an action alert next week as the legislature heads into its final week before adjournment to encourage them to pass a robust bonding bill.
Worker Safety and Utility Damage:
CenturyLink Settlement

AGC was notified earlier this week that a Settlement had been agreed to by the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) and CenturyLink on CenturyLink's failure to mark underground lines during the 2019 construction season. The Settlement requires CenturyLink to pay MNOPS $3 million to MNOPS for their negligence in failing to follow utility locating laws. The company is required to pay $2.25 million up front with $750,000 of the fine to be forgivable if they comply with terms of the agreement, which include:
  • CenturyLink responding to 90% of utility-locate requests on time over the next two years.
  • If more than one CenturyLink telecommunications line is damaged per 1,000 locates in two consecutive months, the terms of the order will be extended an addition year.
     
  • CenturyLink must also develop a prevention program, a quality assurance and quality control program as well as meet provisions regarding safe digging education.
There are caveats to these measures. CenturyLink can be let off the hook during the COVID-19 emergency peacetime declaration set forth by Governor Walz as long as the locate issue is related to COVID-19. They will also be released of the remainder of the fine if they do not violate any terms to the Consent Order.

Because of the current lack of contractor recourse for downtime and other matters in state law, AGC will continue to push for strong legislative action to provide safety for our workers and the public. Current law falls short in providing fairness to all entities working with utilities.
Moving forward, it is important for utility infrastructure members to continue maintaining records and photos on any "locate" related issues not just on CenturyLink, but all of your projects.

Please consider taking another look at the legislation that has been introduced ( HF 4203 /SF 3863) and send comments to Laura Ziegler or  Lisa FrenetteWe will be working with members and legislators over the course of the interim to educate on this important issue.
AGC of America Working for PPP Clarity

On Tuesday, May 5th, the Trump Administration announced that it was extending the deadline for firms to return Paycheck Protection Program loans by one week, from May 7th to May 14th. You can review their new guidance here. The decision comes days after AGC of America, among other groups, urged the administration to provide more time for firms to decide if they would return the loans. As AGC of America made clear to the administration in our initial request for a deadline extension, the administration still needs to clarify its vague and confusing guidance that requires borrowers to certify that 'current economic uncertainty' made the loan requests necessary and that they must also take into account their access to 'other sources of liquidity.' AGC will continue to push for administration officials to clarify their guidance so member firms can have the certainty they need to decide whether to keep the loans or return them.

PPP Packet to Help Contractors Document Market Conditions

AGC has prepared a packet of information to help document current market conditions that helped influence many firms' decisions to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans. The intent of this packet is to provide a snapshot of media coverage starting on March 27 - the launch of the initial round of Paycheck Protection Program loans - covering topics like declining demand, growing layoffs and general worries about market conditions for the construction industry. 

Companies can include them in the records they retain relating to their application for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. This packet should provide an overview of the nationwide market conditions the industry faced when firms opted to apply for the loans.
LABOR & LEGAL NEWS
Wage Allocations
 
We are posting wage allocations to our website as we receive them from the unions.  There was an error on Carpenters' Duluth Building agreement and we have been waiting for an update.  Stay tuned.  We are also are preparing a master wage allocation spreadsheet that we hope will be helpful and clarify allocations.  Watch for it next week.
Contract Negotiations
 
We are posting the new contracts as they are being finalized.  In the meantime, we have a summary of the settlements posted on our website.  If you need more detail, feel free to email Mike.

Can't access these links?  Contact Renee for your member login credentials.
EVENTS & EDUCATION
Upcoming Webinars  from AGC of America
 
AGC of America has upcoming webinars on topics related to the impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry. These webinars are FREE to AGC members, and available for purchase to nonmembers. 
If you are an AGC member and wish to register, but do not have AGC of America login credentials, go to www.agc.org, and click "Register" at the top left.  Be sure to tie yourself to your member company during registration.
AGC FOUNDATION  NEWS
NEXT WEEK: Deadline for AGC of Minnesota 2020/21 academic scholarship application
 
AGC is pleased to announce that the 2020/21 scholarship application form is now available. Any student currently enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution in a commercial construction discipline is encouraged to apply for a scholarship. Completed applications and supporting documents are to be submitted to Merry Beckmann no later than Friday, May 15, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be notified by June 19, 2020.


   

CAREERS

Associated General Contractors of Minnesota 

525 Park Street, Suite 110  |   St. Paul, MN 55103
651-632-8929