The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, September 18, 2015

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

No progress on roads or prevailing wage

LANSING – With the state Legislature focused on ousting State Reps. Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser for carrying on an affair and covering it up, there hasn’t been much news or movement in the last two weeks regarding a road repair package.

Likewise, there isn’t much to report about progress among minority Democratic lawmakers, who have brought up a scenario where they will support a $1.2 billion road repair bill in exchange for Republican lawmakers taking a hands-off approach to prevailing wage repeal.

A petition drive seeking to repeal the Michigan Prevailing Wage Act reportedly has gathered more than 390,000 signatures and the group collecting them has submitted them to the Secretary of State. They only need 252,000 to put the repeal question before the Legislature.

Construction wage rises nearly 2x in 2015

U.S. construction employment is improving, and wages are, too.

Bloomberg BNA reported last month that average first year 2015 U.S. construction contract settlement increases through Aug. 10 were at 3.2 percent, compared to 1.8 percent in 2014.

The higher industry wages likely reflect an improving U.S. construction industry, where spending put in place was up 12 percent between June 2014 and June 2015, the Census Bureau reported on Aug. 3.

For all U.S. workers under a collectively bargained contract, first-year wages rose 2.3 percent through Aug. 10, compared to 2.0 percent during the same period in 2014.

Industry momentum jumps in August

NEW YORK – The Dodge "Momentum Index" for U.S. construction rose 2.8 in August compared to July, another welcome sign of prosperity in an industry that has seen its share of fluctuations.

"Planning data continues to trend higher following a weak start to the year," said Dodge Data & Analytics on Sept. 8, "in response to improving economic data and real estate market fundamentals, which bodes well for construction spending through the first half of 2016."

The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the initial report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

Much of the August gain for the index was due to a strong increase in new plans for commercial buildings, up 8.4 percent from July, On a year-over-year basis commercial planning is 20.6 percent higher, while institutional planning is up 5.1 percent.

Union reps get placed on public boards

Local 98 Business Manager Carlo Castiglione was recently appointed as an advisor to the Wayne County Sheriff Youth and Senior Education Fund. The fund was established in 1990 to benefit the community efforts of The Wayne County Sheriff's Office. The Fund’s mission is to assist area youth and seniors by providing them with a range of educational and safety tools to enhance their quality of life.

In addition, on July 17, Gov. Rick Snyder announced the reappointment of Business Rep. Dan Nixon to the state Plumbing Board. The duties of the seven-member board include making recommendations for plumbing code rules; licensing plumbers; and making all orders, rules, and regulations necessary for the enforcement of the provisions of the act.

“Dan has been a great board member and I thank him for his continued service,” said Gov. Rick Snyder.