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

Last week I joined colleagues from throughout Wisconsin in Washington, D.C., for the Transportation Development Association's (TDA) annual Fly-In. TDA's members are comprised of business, labor, units of government and regional planning organizations.  While the group's membership is diverse, the message is singular - we need sustainable funding for infrastructure in this country and this state.
While is seems obvious that Wisconsin's transportation network is the key to connecting goods to market and people to jobs, we find it necessary to remind our elected officials of this fact repeatedly. That is why this diverse group annually meets with our congressional delegation to discuss the needed action to address Wisconsin's infrastructure needs.
Wisconsin is a diverse state with more than:

* 11,000 miles of state and interstate highways,
* 103,000 miles of county highways, town roads
  and municipal streets,
* 81 public transit and shared-ride taxi systems,
* 127 public-use airports,
* 3,600 miles of railroad track, and
* 29 commercial ports.

When meeting with our elected representatives we pointed out that Wisconsin faces a $6 billion funding shortfall over the next decade just to preserve existing services and system conditions. We stressed that while Wisconsin receives annually more than $750 million for highways, $85 million for transit and $16 million for safety under the FAST Act, the actual money to support this program is not there and that the next authorization in six years will require more than $100 billion in additional revenue. We also discussed other key components to our state's infrastructure including airports, rail and ports but in all candor the message there was the same - we have no sustainable funding source for improvements and maintenance projects that are critically needed. We shall see if this is the year our politicians finally take this message to heart.

Building Wisconsin Together ®
Operating Engineer Pre-Apprenticeship Program Certified by DWD
The Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Council recently approved pre-apprenticeships for both youth taking online classes through Destinations Career Academy and adults that are preparing for apprenticeship.  This certification is important for Wisconsin Operating Engineers as it formally recognizes the online program as a bridge to registered apprenticeship. 
Pre-apprenticeship certification adds our program to a list of certifications that DWD uses to award Act 59 grants to high schools.  Grants from this program incentivize school districts to offer high-quality career and technical education programs that mitigate workforce shortages in key industries and occupations. The grants reimburse up to $1,000 for each pupil in a school district earning an approved industry-recognized certification.  
A pre-apprenticeship program for adults is currently piloting with five contractors through a Fast Forward grant.  In the future, the certification allows Wisconsin Operating Engineers to serve as an Eligible Training Provider (ETP) and accept Individual Training Account (ITA) funds.  With Foxconn contracts starting to be awarded, efforts to recruit and train new operators will be critical for contractors working on this mega-project.
For more information on the pre-apprenticeship certification, please contact Laura Cataldo at 608-616-2835 or
Industry News and Updates
From the News Stand
Biennial Budget Process Begins Anew
The State of Wisconsin operates on a biennial budget cycle that begins on July 1 of the odd-numbered year and ends on June 30 of the next odd-numbered year. The process used to put a new two-year budget in place begins and ends on the Governor's desk.
Recently, Governor Walker initiated the 2019-2021 budget process. In a letter to all state government agency leaders, the Governor directed them to prepare their 2019-21 biennial budget requests based on 100% their fiscal year 2018-19 adjusted base. 
In other words, state government agencies should not request any additional funds to carry out their statutory duties and responsibilities. This "zero-growth" directive does not apply to:
  • State aid to local school districts; 
  • Operational costs for state correctional facilities and health care institutions; 
  • State-Federal funded entitlement and related assistance programs; and 
  • Housekeeping adjustments such as fuel and utilities and debt service.
State government agencies must submit their biennial budget requests to the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) by September 15. At that point, we will get our first look at the framework of the 2019-2021 state budget. 
International Trade and Tariff Update
In late March, President Trump exercised his authority under the federal Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports.
Imported steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico were temporarily exempted from these punitive tariffs so that the Trump Administration could continue its negotiations with these nations on the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This temporary tariff exemption is scheduled to be lifted at the end of May.
Senior Administration officials acknowledged that there are many unresolved issues regarding modernization of NAFTA. With that in mind, we hope the Trump Administration will extend the temporary tariff exemption for imported steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico.

AG Healey Leads Multistate Effort to Curb Misclassification of Workers
Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
The following are excerpts from the release:
Attorney General Maura Healey today led a coalition of 12 state attorneys general in filing a brief to the National Labor Relations Board in support of a decision that misclassification of employees as independent contractors constitutes an unfair labor practice in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
"Employers that misclassify their employees cheat local and state governments from
collecting millions in taxes each year and create an unfair playing field for others," said AG Healey. "I urge the National Labor Relations Board to uphold the decision in this case."

Trump signs bill that kills Obama-era rule targeting wage theft, unsafe working conditions
By Kimberly Kindy - Washington Post
Mar 28, 2018, 8:56 am 
President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday that killed an Obama-era worker safety rule that required businesses competing for large federal contracts to disclose and correct serious safety and other labor law violations.
Earlier this month, the Senate voted to eliminate the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, which applied to contracts valued at $500,000 or more. Votes on the bill in both the House and Senate divided along party lines.
The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulation was finalized in August but most of it was never implemented. Within days of it being finalized, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) sued, securing a temporary injunction that prohibited the federal government from implementing it.

Hiring women can ease the construction labor shortage
Vicki O'Leary
March 23, 2018
Editor's Note: This piece was written by Vicki O'Leary, who was appointed chair of the North American Building Trades Union (NABTU) Tradeswomen's Committee after joining the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union in 2016. She is a 32-year ironworker member from Local 1 in Chicago, and has bachelor's and master's degrees in labor and leadership. The opinions represented in this piece are independent of Construction Dive's views.
It's a time to celebrate the progress we have made in women's rights but also time for reflection. We ought to stop and look back at the progress we have made or the lack there of. In many areas we have made progress but in many others, progress is rather illusive. Women are viewed as equal bread winners and they hold key positions in many industries. Does it mean that we have achieved gender equality?
Let's turn to the construction industry. Despite the progress we have seen in the societal acceptance of women as equal breadwinners, capable leaders and successful entrepreneurs, in many industries such progress is less prevalent than others. Construction industry has a long history of sexism and discrimination against tradeswomen. In some cases, such treatment ended in tragedy such the fate of carpenter apprentice Outi Hicks, who was killed on the jobsite by a coworker.

Green Bay could join growing list of communities with wheel taxes

MADISON - As Green Bay officials again consider enacting a wheel tax to help fund road repairs, a new report finds a growing number of communities have already taken the step.

More than 20 local governments around Wisconsin have adopted wheel taxes in recent years, resulting in a seven-fold increase since 2011, an analysis by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum has found.

Twenty-seven communities impose or soon will impose wheel taxes on their residents, up from four in 2011, according to the report. Over that time the amount of money brought in from local wheel taxes nearly tripled from $7.1 million to $20.7 million.

DOT delays Waterford road construction due to state budget constraints
WATERFORD - The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced the planned reconstruction of Highway 20/83 has been delayed until 2019.

Recently, in an online post,  the village stated, "This one-year push for work by the DOT is due to budgetary constraints related to project work in FY 2018."

Barbara Messick, the village's public information officer, said the village does not anticipate the DOT's rescheduling will affect the current infrastructure work being done, aside from possibly affecting the temporary repavement.


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