Inside this issue
  ABC Joins Apprenticeship Grant with Department of Education  

ABC Delaware has been asked to join as a partner with the Department of Education in pursuing a Youth Apprenticeship grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Delaware's application will focus on the coordination and expansion of the youth and registered apprenticeship system for skilled trades occupations and create an apprenticeship innovation fund.  Specifically, the grant will (1) align/create youth apprenticeship programs focused on skilled trades across our three (3) vo-tech school districts, Del Tech, and our prison education system; (2) engage a number of employer associations (ABC, DCA, AFL-CIO), plus 5 or 6 employers to start) to support curriculum development/coursework and engage their employer members to register youth apprentices and expand pre-apprenticeship programs; and (3) create an apprenticeship innovation fund to scale youth and registered apprenticeship programs and employer participation in the existing system and in non-traditional fields and occupations, e.g. IT and hospitality/tourism.  The grant submission deadline is May 4, 2020. We will keep everyone updated on the progress of the grant.



  ABC Submits letter to DOL on PW issue with State contracts  

ABC Delaware recently sent a letter to the Department of Labor disputing a recent ruling that construction companies that have yearly contracts with the State of Delaware should pay prevailing wage rates on all of their individual contract jobs even if they are below the $45,000 threshold.  ABC is disputing the ruling based on the prevailing wage statute outlining that only individual public works contracts over $45,000 need to pay prevailing wage rates. The DOL has ruled that since their total yearly contract value will exceed $45,000, all projects a contractor performs should pay prevailing wage regardless of the value of the individual project. ABC has requested the DOL ruling but was denied this due to attorney/client privilege. ABC is considering legal action on behalf of the contractors affected by this ruling. 




  ABC Hosts COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down on April 23  
  ABC members across the country took the opportunity to talk directly to workers about coronavirus safe work practices and protocols on construction jobsites by hosting COVID-19 Safety Stand-downs on Thursday, April 23.

Hosting the stand-down was a vital opportunity for employers and workers in construction to ensure their behavior keeps them safe and slows the spread of the virus, especially since many jurisdictions are allowing construction work to continue. 

ABC is a member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, which developed the 
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan for Construction and encouraged member organizations to come together for COVID-19 Safety Stand-down events nationwide during the month of April. 

Thanks to all the ABC Delaware members who participated in the event.  We appreicate the support. Finally, go to #COVID19SafetyStandDown, to see stories and photos on ABC member activities during the COVID-19 Safety Stand Down.  


  Additional PPP Money Passed and Signed into Law  
  The $484 billion deal includes $321 billion to replenish the small business Paycheck Protection Program, which allocates $11 billion in administrative costs for the program. The bill also includes $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, $75 billion for the nation's hospitals, and $25 billion for testing for COVID-19. Of that testing money, $11 billion will go to states.

A view of the bill text can be found
here, with section by section of the small business provisions here, and the hospital and testing provisions here.

The concern now is how long these new funds will last. With the original $349 billion expended in just 14 days, lawmakers and economic experts believe that these new funds could expire even quicker and could run out by next week due to a more swift approval process since the roll out, more approved lenders, and thousands of applications at the ready. While not all small businesses are in need of assistance at this time, the country has approximately 30 million small businesses. The SBA has approved only 1.6 million PPP loans, and it is unclear how many have applied. 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said several important things following the Senate passage of the interim funding deal, stating that he will not begin considering another phase of coronavirus stimulus until the Senate is back in session, which is scheduled for the May 4th week.
Also at issue remains a request from the nation's governors to provide $500 billion in aid to deal with the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic as tax revenue falls and demands for resources escalate.
Reports have indicated that Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, who has been key to the White House's and Republican's negotiations in the previous bipartisan relief packages, believes that any additional relief package bill 'will most likely' be all the U.S. needs if economy reopens. Mnuchin listed Infrastructure (roads, bridges broadband), incentives for restaurants, sports, entertainment, payroll tax cut, and money for states among these top priorities.


  West Virginia Supreme Court Upholds State's Right-to-Work Law  
  In a victory for worker freedom and the merit shop philosophy, on April 21, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Workplace Freedom Act, the state's right-to-work law, in a 4-1 decision.

This decision is another reinforcement of right-to-work laws that are currently in force in 27 states and have been upheld repeatedly in courts around the country. Most recently, Kentucky enacted its own right-to-work policy in 2017.

The years long court battle began in 2016, when the AFL-CIO brought suit against the state in the Kanawha County Circuit Court and sought an injunction to stop the law before it became effective. The plaintiffs achieved a short-lived victory under a decision by Judge Jennifer Bailey in early 2017 to grant this injunction, which was later reversed by the West Virginia Supreme Court. From there, Judge Bailey again heard arguments around the law and overturned key aspects early last year. This led the case back to the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the law in January 2020. 

In their final decision, Justice Evan Jenkins wrote the opinion for the majority, with Justices Gregory Howard and John Hutchinson concurring. Justice Margaret Workman was the sole dissenting vote, concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Workman referenced the recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME (2018), writing that due to the U.S. constitutional implications of that case, it would be unlikely that opposition to parts of the West Virginia right-to-work law around a ban on agency fees-which are dues collected by a union from nonunion members-would be successful. However, she felt the West Virginia constitution should have "higher standards of protection" than the U.S. Constitution.


  Virginia Delays Enactment of Prevailing Wage & PLA Laws Until 2021  
  During its annual reconvene/veto session April 22, the Virginia General Assembly agreed with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and delayed the effective date of two laws permitting prevailing wage and project labor agreement requirements on taxpayer-funded public works projects.

The General Assembly originally sent these bills, passed via party line votes, to the desk of Gov. Northam with an effective date of July 1, 2020. However, in the face of uncertain economic conditions caused by COVID-19, on April 11 Gov. Northam recommended delaying the effective date of these measures to May 1, 2021.

ABC Virginia has led a coalition of construction industry associations and business organizations against the prevailing wage and PLA mandate bills, which were two of many measures opposed by the business community the General Assembly passed after Democrats won the majority for the first time since 1993.

Introduced by Sen. Dick Saslaw (
SB 182) and Del. Alfonso Lopez (HB 358), legislation that eliminates Virginia's Fair and Open Competition statute restricting government-mandated project labor agreements will allow state and local governments to mandate PLAs on public works construction projects.

In addition, legislation introduced by Sen. Saslaw (SB 8) and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (HB 833) will result in prevailing wage requirements on construction projects at nonmarket rates set by the U.S. Department of Labor, via the archaic 1931 Davis-Bacon Act. These bills require government-determined prevailing wages to be paid to construction workers on all state construction projects exceeding $250,000 and allow localities to pass an ordinance requiring prevailing wages on specific or multiple locally procured public works construction projects.


ABC Legislative Committee
Thursday, May 28
8:30 a.m.
Virtual Zoom meeting