The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, February 03, 2017

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Double whammy for labor in Kentucky 

The building trades and the rest of organized labor in Kentucky are getting a lesson on the importance of elections.

For the first time in the past 100 years, Republicans on Nov. 8 won their first majority in the state's House of Representatives, setting them up to control all three branches of state government. That led to both the state House and Senate adopting a statewide right-to-work law and a repeal of the state's prevailing law during the first week of the year. The state's GOP governor was expected to sign the legislation.

Even as a southern state, Kentucky has enjoyed a relatively high unionization rate, with about 200,000 dues-paying members in 2015 - about 11 percent of its workforce. That was a 28 percent increase compared to 2009. But that was before the Bluegrass State became the nation's 27th right-to-work state.

The Kentucky AFL-CIO decried the fast-moving bills, and said lawmakers were "asked to vote yes or no on dangerous, destructive bills like right to work, paycheck deception and elimination of prevailing wage without even a chance to think about the consequences.”

Kentucky AFL-CIO President William Londrigan said he was disappointed state lawmakers had rolled back decades of protections for workers. “We will continue to inform our members that elections have consequences and union members and their families will hold our elected representatives accountable for these egregious, harmful actions taken today,” Londrigan said in a statement following the Senate vote.

Five states (including Michigan) have become right-to-work states since 2012.

Amazing safety record for Clark 

LANSING - Clark Construction Co. on Jan. 20 announced a milestone the company called "unprecedented" in the commercial construction industry. It has completed 4 million straight hours on the job without a lost-time injury.

Since January 2001 when the historic streak began, Clark Construction has averaged 250,000 work hours per year and completed more than $3.2 billion in construction projects.

“You cannot achieve such an incredible accomplishment without a total team effort from the home office to every job site we’ve been on across the nation the past 16 years,” said Charles Clark, Clark Construction CEO.  “My heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all of our dedicated team members, subcontractors, and especially our customers who share our commitment to safety.”

The company said its management and staff "have consciously refused to accept accidents as an unavoidable aspect of construction and set a safety goal for the company of zero hours of lost time due to injuries. The resulting program has earned Clark Construction widespread government and industry recognition for its safety accomplishments."

“We truly put safety first every day in everything we do,” said Charles Clark. “It requires focus on every detail and a steadfast determination to ensure that our job sites are the safest anywhere.”