December 18, 2020
CEO REPORT
Commitment to a Culture of Care

As we close out a tumultuous year in the construction industry, thoughts drift to what may lie ahead and where to position resources to best take advantage of opportunities. This year provided a pandemic-induced reality horror show no one considered possible, yet the construction industry persevered. We remained “essential” and working because of the construction industry’s longstanding commitment to safety. Ensuring public health and worker safety was second nature because the safety ethos is deeply embedded in our industry culture. 
 
Looking ahead, the recently released AGC of Minnesota Survey Assessment shows that members are divided about their future, split somewhere between hopeful optimism and genuine concern. Hidden in the many responses lie threads of lingering, stubborn challenges that fit collectively into the workforce supply and skill space. A skilled, professional workforce is the industry’s backbone, profit margin, and competitive advantage, yet survey responses portend cause for concern as traditional workforce pools diminish and worker skills slip.
 
Population demographics tell us society is rapidly changing and becoming increasingly diverse, which means the construction workforce will be changing rapidly too. Our shared industry challenge is understanding how to better address immediate workforce challenges by committing to a new future that, like committing to a safety culture, fully embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and intentionally embeds these principles into industry culture. If we are to truly commit to a culture of diversity parallel to changing population demographics, our industry will be well prepared to access an emerging, new workforce talent pool and remain prosperous and essential.
Culture of CARE Pledge
 
In furtherance of this goal, I am excited to announce that the AGC of Minnesota Board has adopted the AGC of America Culture of CARE pledge. Culture of CARE challenges leaders in the construction industry to take a bold and visible step towards ensuring their workplaces are welcoming, safe and inclusive for an increasingly diverse and talented pool of workers by taking the Culture of CARE pledge. Culture of CARE provides tools and resources to help establish a Culture of CARE within your workplace. 
 
Every AGC member is encouraged to commit to the Culture of CARE. Taking the pledge positions your firm to actively own and shape your company culture, ensuring that every employee – from the CEO to the laborer – will be provided the opportunity to feel valued, respected and heard. Companies committing to a Culture of CARE believe that everyone has the right to a work environment free from harassment, hazing and bullying. You will be in good company, too – see the list of Impact Champions who have already taken the pledge. You can learn more at BuildCulture.org or by contacting Yolanda McIntosh at AGC.
LEGAL NEWS
FFCRA and PEUC Benefits Update

The Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s (FFCRA) which provides expanded sick leave benefits to employees was passed as a temporary measure, expiring December 31st. There is movement to extend the FFCRA. Minnesota passed the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation which extends unemployment benefits. 
COVID-19 Vaccine May Be Required

The COVID vaccine is out, being promoted first among healthcare workers and then among more critical or vulnerable persons. When it becomes available more broadly, EEOC Guidance says that employers may require employees to receive the vaccine in most circumstances, theoretically similar to workplace safety measures and not similar to a medical examination. Key points: 1) employers may require proof of inoculation (without other information); 2) employees may opt out of the vaccine for as an ADA or religious belief accommodation; 3) vaccine side effect claims should be non-work related or fall under workers’ compensation policies; and 4) employers may not be able to terminate employees who are unable to receive the vaccine but may be able to block them from the workplace. This guidance seems to assume that employees are receiving the vaccine from a clinic or pharmacy, and not at the workplace. Case by case circumstances may change this general guidance so the smartest advice is to consult a lawyer with questions or concerns (see Member Directory: Lawyers).
LEGISLATIVE NEWS
President-elect Biden Nominates Pete Buttigieg to Head Department of Transportation

On December 15, President-elect Joe Biden nominated former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to become the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). As one of the few candidates in the presidential field to introduce a full infrastructure plan, Buttigieg supported transitioning the nation from the current motor fuels tax to a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) user fee. AGC looks forward to learning more about Mayor Buttigieg’s vision for USDOT during his Senate confirmation hearing and, if confirmed, looks forward to working with his Department to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.
GENERAL NEWS
Winter Truck Load Increases begin Monday for North Frost Zone

Winter load increases will begin next Monday, Dec. 21, at 12:01 a.m. on unrestricted state highways in the north frost zone, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Frost zones can be found on the MnDOT load limits map.
CHASE Level 3 Projects

Congratulations to Mortenson on their CHASE Level 3 Project at Two Discovery Square in Rochester! Click image for a larger version.

CHASE is a 17-year partnership between AGC of Minnesota and MNOSHA.
Using 4D/5D to Mitigate Risk and Identify Project Opportunity

4D/5D modeling is intended to improve the accuracy and efficiency of projects. It has applications throughout the project life-cycle, from preliminary design to project close-out with the contractor. Learn more about some of the ways incorporating into your project and improve your project's overall success. Learn more

By Kelsey Peterson, Graduate Engineer, WSB
AGC 2020-2021 Minnesota Construction Industry Assessment

The annual AGC of Minnesota survey of General Contractors, Specialty Contractors, Architects and Engineers can be accessed here.
MNOPS Releases Compliance Guidelines

The Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety has put together the following guidelines for Excavators and Utility Operators with regard to MN Statutes 216D. These regulations ensure worker/public safety as well as protecting underground utility infrastructure. Please take a moment to review the following guidelines for the safety of your employees, the public and important infrastructure.

Please contact Laura Ziegler or Lisa Frenette if you have any questions.
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Associated General Contractors of Minnesota 

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