Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates.  This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director  Robb Kahl

It is well-established that poor road quality has a direct cost to drivers and a devastating, negative impact on economic development. Most recently, on October 17, 2018, TRIP-an independent, nonpartisan national transportation research organization-issued a new report identifying the roughest roads in the United States with the highest cost impact per driver. The report, "Bumpy Roads Ahead: America's Roughest Rides and Strategies to make our Roads Smoother,"  examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding, travel trends and economic development for urban areas with populations of 200,000 or greater. Wisconsin made the top 20 WORST roads or highest vehicle operating cost in every category examined.
For percentage of pavement in poor condition, Milwaukee ranks 4th worst for large urban areas (populations over 500,000). For mid-sized urban areas (populations of 200,000 - 500,000), Madison ranks 3rd worst, Green Bay ranks 8th worst and Appleton ranks 11th worst.

Building Wisconsin Together ®
November 14th Externship Day

According to DWD forecasts, Wisconsin needs to add 122 Operating Engineers every year between now and 2024 in order to meet the industry growth and replace retiring workers?  We need your help to reach the future workforce!

In conjunction with National Apprenticeship Week, the Wisconsin Operating Engineers invite high school students, educators and parents to join us on November 14th at the Coloma Training Center to explore the career pathway of an Operating Engineers.  This is an opportunity to :
  • Tour the training center, including the indoor training arena
  • Test their skill on equipment simulators
  • Gain hands-on experience with mini-excavators
  • Learn about apprenticeship opportunities
  • Interact with current apprentices and Operators
  • Hear from employers about opportunities that exist and what they are seeking in employees
Please share this invitation with school districts and families in your community.  For more information, please contact Laura Cataldo at 608-616-2835 or
Industry News and Updates
From the News Stand
WEDC Unveils Business Disaster Recovery  Microloan Program

To assist Wisconsin businesses recover from the recent flooding and severe storms, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will award $2 million in grant funds to regional entities which in turn will provide microloans of up to $15,000 to businesses.
The loans can be used by businesses for procurement of cleanup and restoration services, operating expenses, temporary space, and repair and reconstruction work. The no-interest loans have a two-year repayment period, with payments deferred for at least six months. Forgivable loans of up $15,000 may also be offered to small businesses.
To be eligible for a loan, a business must be in or directly adjacent to a region where the authorized regional entity has received an allocation; must have suffered measurable physical damage because of the disaster; and must intend to resume business operations in the community as quickly as possible.
While the loan program will be available to businesses in all 72 counties, WEDC is initially working with regional entities in the areas of the state that were hit hardest by the flooding: the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission, the Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission; and the Madison Region Economic Partnership.
For more information about the microloan program, visit here.  

Statewide State of Emergency Update

According to Wisconsin Emergency Management, county officials across the state have reported more than $230 million in flooding and severe storm-related damage.
This includes 56 homes destroyed, 564 homes with major damage, and nearly 4,000 with minor or affected damage with losses of at least $108 million. In addition, 14 businesses were destroyed, 62 sustained major damage and 96 reported minor damage with losses of nearly $49 million. Flooding also caused more than $75 million in damage to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and dams, and emergency protective measures.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is conducting a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) in 17 Wisconsin counties. Teams comprised of officials with FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Wisconsin Emergency Management will work with local and state officials in viewing the damage. 
FEMA teams will assess private property damage in Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jefferson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marquette, Monroe, Ozaukee, Richland, Sauk, and Vernon Counties. Public infrastructure damage assessment will be conducted in Adams, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Iron, Juneau, La Crosse, Marquette, Monroe, Ozaukee, Richland, Sauk, and Vernon Counties.
The PDA should be finished soon. Once completed, information gathered will be given to the Governor to use in his request to the President for a federal disaster declaration which clears the way for federal financial aid.

New Maryland Law Exposes General Contractors and Subcontractors to Greater Wage and Hour Liability

September 19, 2018
Effective October 1, 2018, general contractors with projects in Maryland will have a new headache to deal with. That's when Maryland's new law, the General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act, will go into effect. Under the Act, GCs will be jointly and severally liable for the failure of any subcontractors on the GC's project to comply with Maryland's existing wage and hour law. GCs will have to ensure that all of their subcontractors (including any sub-subcontractors or other firms they hire) pay their employees in accordance with Maryland law.
Under the new Act, an employee can sue both its employer and the GC on the job for up to three times the wages owed to the employee, plus attorneys' fees and costs. This applies to any job involving "construction services", which is broadly defined to include any work involving "building, reconstructing, improving, enlarging, painting, altering, and repairing" of property.


Minnesota Wage Growth Exceeds Neighbors & Rest of United States

September 12, 2018
Frank Manzo IV
Chicago: A trio of new research studies shows that more people are joining unions in Minnesota and that wages in the Gopher State are growing faster than the neighboring states of Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as in the rest of the United States.
Produced by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute with researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of California-Irvine, the annual State of the Unions Research series profiles unionization rates and hourly wages in Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin. 
Based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Census Bureau, the studies offer a comparative window into the economic effects of different state-level approaches to labor and economic policy.
"While the rise of right-to-work laws and other national economic trends are no doubt impacting unionization and wage growth, differences in state-level policymaking can either accelerate or blunt these broader trends," said Midwest Economic Policy Institute Policy Director Frank Manzo IV. "The data shows that Wisconsin's model has produced lower wages and slower wage growth, while Minnesota's has had the opposite effect."

Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers' Wages 

New research finds that a wide range of big corporations have been shortchanging the people who work for them 

by Philip Mattera with a chapter on policy recommendations by Adam Shah
June 2018
Washington, DC-A new report finds that many large corporations operating in the United States have boosted their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock, cheating them out of required overtime pay and engaging in similar practices that together are known as wage theft. 
The detailed analysis of federal and state court records shows that these corporations have paid out billions of dollars to resolve wage theft lawsuits brought by workers. Walmart, which has long been associated with such practices, has paid the most, but the list of the most-penalized employers also includes Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other large banks and insurance companies as well as major technology and healthcare corporations. Many of the large corporations are repeat offenders, and 450 firms have each paid out $1 million or more in settlements and/or judgments. 
These are among the findings in Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers' Wages published today by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First and Jobs With Justice Education Fund. It is available at

Drywall Contractor Fined $2 Million; Is California Wage Theft Rampant? 

By Jane Mundy
August 10, 2018
Los Angeles -  After workers at Fullerton Pacific Interiors Inc., complained about California labor law violations to the non-profit Carpenters Contractors Cooperation Committee, the California Labor Commissioner's Office stepped in. Investigators found that the drywall company paid a daily rate that didn't include overtime hours or rest breaks and 28 workers were not even paid minimum wage. Fullerton was fined nearly $2 million for wage theft violations.

The work included taping and drywall installation at hotels, recreation centers and casino projects in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties between August 2014 and June 2016. According to the citation, Fullerton failed to properly compensate 472 workers for rest periods and 289 workers were not paid for overtime, along with other wage violations. California state Labor Commissioner Julie Su said in a statement that, "In construction, unscrupulous contractors attempt to obscure their wage theft by paying workers a flat rate rather than for all hours worked. But a daily or other flat rate system does not take the place of minimum wage and overtime obligations."

DC Attorney General alleges electrical contractor misclassified 535 workers 

By Laurie Cowin
Date: Aug. 7, 2018
Dive Brief:
  • The attorney general for the District of Columbia sued Power Design on Monday, alleging that the Florida-based electrical contractor purposefully misclassified at least 535 construction workers as independent contractors so that it could cut costs, avoid legal responsibilities and evade taxes. The lawsuit also alleges various minimum wage, overtime and other labor violations and claims that senior management was involved in the scheme. In a request for comment, Power Design told Construction Dive that it had not yet been served and that Power Design believes it is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in the district. 

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