The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, January 11, 2019

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Dems resurrect 'Labor' committee

WASHINGTON (PAI)—The House Education and Labor Committee is back.

To nobody’s great surprise, the House Democratic Caucus, whose members will be the majority in the 116th Congress, voted to restore the word “Labor” to the name of the committee that deals with workers’ rights, job safety and other related issues.

That continues the 25-year back-and-forth between the two parties over the panel’s name. After winning in 1994, the GOP, hating the word “Labor” – to them it implied “Labor Union” – changed the name to “Education and the Workforce.” When Democrats retook House control in the 2006 election, “Labor” rebounded. And when the GOP seized power four years after that, “Workforce” returned. Now “Labor” is back in the House. It never left the Senate.

The name changes symbolize continuing high partisanship on the panel. Democrats voted in Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), now ranking member, as chairman. Outgoing chair Rep. Virginia Foxx, (R-N.C.), a traditional right-winger, will be the GOP's ranking member, who has questioned the need for unions at all.

U.S. architects doing a happy dance

When the architects are happy, everybody in the construction industry is happy.

And U.S. architects seem fairly happy. Billings in the industry were headed toward the end of 2018 "with the strongest billings growth figure since January and continued strength in new project inquiries and design contracts," said the American Institute of Architects on Dec. 19. The architectural industry has recorded 14 straight months of growth - a good harbinger for the people building from their blueprints.

“Despite some concerns about a potential economic downturn, architecture firms continue to report strong billings, inquiries, and new design contracts,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “For the coming year, concerns about the economy among architecture firm leaders tend to be balanced by their concerns about a lack of qualified employee prospects.”