Washington, DC; April 7, 2016 – This week, members of the Construction Employers of America met with leadership of the recently-established Congressional Building Trades Caucus. CEA representatives discussed federal policy initiatives important to the specialty construction industry with representatives of the Caucus, which is Co-Chaired by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV-01) and Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01).
The Congressional Building Trades Caucus was launched last month to advance federal policies that support the 6.6 million Americans working in the construction industry. The CEA was pleased to have the opportunity provide early input to the Caucus as it develops its agenda.
CEA discussed with Caucus representatives that highly skilled union building trade shops strengthen the middle class and are good for the country. Most CEA member companies are family owned small businesses that follow the rules and provide superior wages and benefits--including health insurance, pensions, and worker safety investments--for their employees. Issues that CEA raised with the Congressional Building Trades Caucus include the following:
- Promote Sound Infrastructure Policies - Adequate federal dollars to maintain infrastructure is vital to the country, the economy, and the construction industry. Public policy should continue to allow federal agencies to utilize project labor agreements (PLAs) in projects where they determine a PLA would provide the best value and highest quality for federal and federally assisted projects. CEA also supports effective enforcement of prevailing wage and other current laws.
- Modernize Retirement Plan Options - The multiemployer pension system needs to be modernized through congressional authorization of composite plans, which would provide employees lifetime annuity benefits while ensuring predictability for employer contributions.
- Prepare the Next Generation of Skilled Workers - Skilled labor is vital to the success of our industry, and we invest heavily in apprenticeship training programs. Our employers and their labor partners operate over 1,100 apprenticeship training centers nationally and invest over $1.3 billion annually in workforce training and apprenticeship programs.
- Require Bid Listing - Congress should prohibit the practice of post-award bid shopping on low-bid federal construction projects in order to restore equitable safeguards for subcontractors who submit their bids to prime contractors in good faith. Procurement policy should require prime contractors on low-bid solicitations over $1 million to list all subcontractors with work over $100,000 and require prime contractor project winners to use the listed subcontractor at the price listed.
- Oppose Employee Misclassification - Misclassification occurs when an employer improperly classifies and employee as an independent contractor to gain a competitive advantage at the expense of responsible, lawful companies and depriving employees of benefits they deserve. Congress should reform existing tax law to identify bad actors so the federal government can recoup lost tax revenue and ensure all businesses compete under the same rules.
Construction Employers of America is a joint initiative coordinating action on labor, workforce, and construction issues facing our industries. CEA works to strengthen the construction industry and provide opportunities for top-quality construction workers to learn and maintain the skills they need to deliver highly productive, quality workmanship that provides the best value to project owners while earning high-value compensation and benefits for themselves, their families, and their communities. Information about the CEA can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.
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