DEFENDING LABOR STANDARDS
FEDERAL -Defending Davis Bacon
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters Political Team has been diligently working to protect Davis-Bacon. Attempts to repeal Davis-Bacon protections from proposed federal legislation are frequent. A recent attempt was initiated by Senator Cornyn in an amendment to S. 1260 the Endless Frontier Act. UBC and Regional Political Directors worked in concert to defend against the amendment by gaining the votes of eight GOP Senators to oppose it. Please thank these Senators if you see them: Sen. Daines (MT); Sen. Sullivan (AK); Sen. Murkowski (AK); Sen. Blunt (MO); Sen. Portman (OH); Sen. Rubio (FL); Sen. Kennedy (LA).
Learn more here: Davis-Bacon and Related Acts | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)
Attempt to Loosen Laws Regarding Employee Misclassification (a.k.a. Tax Fraud/Wage Theft)
The American Legislative Exchange Council (a.k.a. ALEC), is pushing “The Uniform Worker Classification Act” throughout the United States. The act loosens the definition of Independent Contractor and thus accountability for companies that hire them. One of the subsections states that if one files to pay their income taxes that they are considered an independent contractor. This is dangerous language packaged to say they are addressing the gig economy but whose true affects will be felt the most in the construction. Learn more about UBCs fight against Construction Tax Fraud here: UBC Tax Fraud (stoptaxfraud.net)
MINNESOTA – Defending Project Labor Agreement Ordinances
Labor opponents have been attempting to make inroads into Minnesota’s Iron Range. There has been rhetoric and attempts from labor opponents, city attorneys, and city managers to have city councilmembers repeal Project Labor Agreement Ordinances currently on the books. A city’s project labor agreement (PLA) is a construction labor agreement, especially when public dollars are used, between the owner/city and a regional building trades council, representing the construction unions. Your Minnesota Political Team worked to defend the PLA in the City of Cloquet. We were successful yet are concerned and are monitoring other Iron Range municipalities and counties. Should you notice an attempt to decrease labor standards in your area please reach out immediately to Kim Nelson at (651) 341-0490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A State Court of Appeals Decision has upheld the Public Utilities Commission approval of Line 3 replacement permits. Line 3 has seen opponents lob challenge after challenge to the permitting process. The project would create thousands of union jobs; reduce spills and reroute the line off Leech Lake Reservation. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who would benefit most from this project and are confident the latest ruling will allow the necessary work to begin.
New Study on the Value of Union Construction in MN
Researchers from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI), the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois, and Colorado State University-Pueblo released Building a Strong Minnesota: An Analysis of Minnesota’s Union Construction Industry.
The report finds that Minnesota’s construction workers are among the most productive in the United States, primarily because the workforce is 41% unionized – more than double the national average.
- Union apprenticeships train 93% of all construction workers in Minnesota.
- Union construction workers earn 32% higher wages.
- Wage inequality is 24% lower among union construction workers.
- Union worksites have 40% fewer health and safety violations than nonunion jobsites.
- Union construction workers are 3% more likely to own homes, 43% more likely to be covered by private health insurance, and 24% more likely to have access to pension plans.
- Union construction workers contribute 48% more in state income taxes and are 13% less likely to rely on food stamps and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) government assistance.
- And union contractors are no more costly than nonunion contractors on school construction projects after taking project complexity, type of work, and other factors into account.
Find a related article here from Finance and Commerce in Minnesota, “Report: Union Labor Offsets Cost with Efficiency, Safety.
MN STATE LEGISLATURE UPDATE
The Minnesota legislature completed their work and passed a state budget just before the July 1st deadline. Our top priorities in the House and Senate were bills focused on jobs and labor standards. We supported a Safe and Skilled Workforce bill that would require all contractors and subs who work in hazardous refinery and facility would need an Apprenticeship Program to work on site. Clean energy and affordable housing is also a big issue and we are working to make sure prevailing wages are included and enforced on these projects. We also focused on funding for tax fraud enforcement and increased funding for OSHA inspectors and we were successful on these issues. Lastly, while there wasn’t a bonding bill, we fought for the inclusion of prevailing wage grants to rebuild Lake Street and other areas affected by the unrest in the amount of $150 million.