May 1, 2020

CEO REPORT
Where Do We Go From Here?
 
The Great Recession was labeled a once in a lifetime economic disruption.  We endured lean times, recovered and emerged stronger.  We now face the second great challenge of our age - a world-wide health pandemic.  The past 6 weeks have been some of the most difficult in our nation's history.  All sense of normalcy has evaporated, but we are adapting, innovating and moving forward.  

The full impact of the economic shut down remains fluid and difficult to calculate. This week provided an initial peek behind the dark curtains as
economists estimated the national economy contracted at a 4.8% annual rate in the first quarter of the year and estimates for the current April-June timeframe could be a whopping 40%! Almost 30% of Americans are out of work and the backbone of the American economy - consumer spending - has nosedived (down 7.6%) as the virus and stay-at-home orders take their toll on Main Street and Wall Street.

The construction sector is showing a mix of resiliency, opportunity and vulnerability.  Governor Walz' stay-at-home order, which has been extended to May 18, labels construction an essential business and the industry has responded with quick adoption and strong adherence to industry-leading safety measures.  On the positive side, some markets like multi-family housing remain strong while other market data are showing grave cause for concern.  AGC of America this week  reported 68 percent of construction firms have had projects cancelled or delayed during the past two months and the March Architectural Billings Index plummeted by 20 points to a score of 33.3 overall indicating a substantial forthcoming reduction in the pipeline of new work. 

On the highway side, the 2020 season has begun on schedule and remains on track for steady   performance provided the industry can remain open and viable.  This past week saw dire projections for reduced highway construction revenue going forward due to the combined impact the pandemic and the stay-at-home order is having on travel and transportation revenue streams.  

Governor Walz has pushed legislators for a robust bonding bill aiming to stimulate the state economy and in Washington there is general optimism that COVID-19 economic recovery efforts may provide the political grist needed to 1) replenish depleted state highway funds ( down 30%-40%) and 2) deliver an infrastructure stimulus package in the $50 billion range. The state legislature has three weeks to pass a bonding bill in the regular session.

As we navigate these turbulent times together, AGC of Minnesota remains Your Trusted Resource for information that is both relevant and valuable. Please remain safe and optimistic for brighter days ahead.  
COVID-19 NEWS
COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Guidance for Office Settings
 
In compliance with   Executive Order 20-40 from Governor Walz, which requires that all non-critical exempt businesses establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan before returning to work, AGC of Minnesota has created a  COVID-19 Preparedness Business Plan  along with a  Daily Employee Screening Form  for our office.

The MN Chamber of Commerce has also compiled best practices shared by employers in critical industries as more businesses develop COVD-19 Preparedness Plans. 
Upcoming Webinars  from AGC of America
 
AGC of America has several 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. 

On April 29, AGC called on the Secretary of the Treasury to provide more clarity regarding its recent guidance warning firms of future audits and potential legal risks for companies that apply for loans. While there is much ambiguity in this guidance, the message is clear that AGC members should have documentation of their market uncertainty and corresponding operational need for these PPP loans when they signed the loan application.
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.
Planning for Business Owner Incapacity
 
COVID-19 has stunned the country. At the start of 2020, who imagined the dramatic shift the virus would bring to our world, our work, and our daily lives? People find themselves in changing circumstances. No matter what the situation, it is a good time to focus on planning.  Learn more

Written by Tara D. Mattessich, Larkin Hoffman
COVID-19 Resources from MnDLI
 
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has created a page of resources related to COVID-19, including a document that highlights worker protections and an FAQ for employers and employees.
Construction Mask Donations to Health Care Facilities
 
Construction firms across the nation are responding to the critical need for N95 masks and other PPE in health care facilities. Any firm with masks that they are willing to donate should contact the Minnesota Department of Public Safety with the supplies you have available for donation.
LEGISLATIVE NEWS
The Question We Ask Every Other Year: Will there be a Bonding Bill?

With three weeks remaining in the legislative session, lawmakers are grappling with how much borrowing capacity to use considering the new economic reality. The Senate Capital Investment Committee met online for the first time this week to talk about rebuilding the state's economy through transportation infrastructure investments. Committee members acknowledged the need for a bonding bill to act as an economic stimulus. A recent article in the Star Tribune provides a solid picture of the current status among key lawmakers and other policy items playing into the legislative mix.

On Tuesday, May 5th, state officials will provide an update on economic conditions that will provide another benchmark for legislators, businesses, and the public. This update is extremely rare, as typically legislators rely on budget forecasts released in February to make funding decisions. Just a few months ago, the State had a projected $1.513 billion surplus. 2020 is a non-budget year, as even year sessions focus on bonding and policy discussions.
Worker Safety and Utility Damage Legislation

The AGC-sponsored utility infrastructure language authored by Rep. Mike Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Senator Jason Rarick (R-Brook Park) is on hold as the legislature focuses on measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. There are pros and cons with the legislation being suspended. First, AGC will be able to refine the language and spend more time during the interim to educate legislative members on the importance of the legislation and answer their questions. Unfortunately, our legislative priority will not become law this session. AGC staff will work to navigate through the legislative process next year.

Please consider taking another look at the legislation that has been introduced ( HF 4203 /SF 3863) and send comments to Laura Ziegler or  Lisa Frenette.
MnDOT Employment Goals Focus of Legislative Audit    

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) will be conducting an evaluation of the MnDOT contract and employment goals over the next year. One preliminary evaluation question they are considering relates to the goals and requirements for contracting and employing disadvantaged business enterprises, targeted group businesses, veteran-owned businesses, etc. OLA is asking for input as they refine their scope regarding questions and issues they should address in the evaluation.

To provide input via survey, click here.
LABOR & LEGAL NEWS
Carpenters LIB Conversion
 
The Carpenters' Metro-Southern Minnesota pension plan (Twin Cities Carpenters & Joiners Pension Fund) is undergoing a conversion.  Beginning today (1 May 2020), an additional $1.05 / hour is owed pursuant to the Rehabilitation Plan passed by the fund Trustees and required by the Pension Protection Act.  If you are signatory with Carpenters Building Metro / South or Carpenters Highway Heavy Agreements, we have sent email updates to contacts listed on our to be bound forms.  Important information is on our website here.  
Labor Update: 2020 Negotiations
 
AGC's labor negotiations committees have completed their work and successfully negotiated new agreements with the trades. First, thank you for all who served on the committees. It often is thankless work with moments of frustration and disappointment. Receiving a good agreement that will promote the needs of the industry, the partnership with unions, the competitiveness with owners, and the training and financial needs of our employees is hard work. It takes time, energy and effort. We wrestled with topics from wages to pipe fusion, and forged better understandings of workplace issues. Also thank you to our union partners for taking the time for hard conversations about difficult issues, and emerging together on the first page of a new contract. 
 
Post-negotiations we have posted new to be bound forms to sign to the new agreements here. Please be sure to use our to be bound forms. They ensure that you are agreeing to the terms negotiated by the industry committees and enable us to contact you about contract developments and news.

Wage increases are effective May 4 this year. We also have posted a document summarizing the contract changes in bargaining here. We will be reposting the wage allocations provided by the unions and, as soon as time permits, will post on our website a master wage allocation document for your easy use.

Can't access these links?  Contact Renee for your member login credentials.
GENERAL NEWS
Seasonal Load Limit Notification
 
The Minnesota Department of Transportation will end spring load restrictions (SLR) in the CENTRAL frost zone Monday, May 4, and for the NORTH-CENTRAL and NORTH frost zones Friday, May 8, 2020 at 12:01 AM.

Full-summer overweight permits will start in the SOUTH frost zone Monday, May 4, 2020.

Spring load restrictions have already ended in the METRO, SOUTHEAST and SOUTH frost zones.

Full-summer overweight permits are already available in the METRO and SOUTHEAST frost zones.

The frost zones and restricted routes can be found on the MnDOT load limits map.
AGC FOUNDATION  NEWS
AGC of Minnesota 2020/21 academic scholarship application now available
 
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