A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

Part of our mission at Construction Citizen is to push for a sustainable construction workforce.  We developed the following set of 10 principles to demonstrate the overall...
October 02, 2010
The Vdara Hotel and Spa at CityCenter in Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the newest hotels on that city’s famous Strip.  This beautiful and modern all-suite hotel is LEED Gold certified and offers the latest technology such as in-room media hubs, beautiful views, an impressive fine art collection and a relaxing atmosphere.  Recently, however, its spectacular pool area and distinctive crescent shaped façade have been drawing the most attention.It seems that the south facing curve of the building acts to converge sunlight and focus it onto an area where the temperature then rises significantly as compared to other areas in the sunlight, in the same way that a magnifying glass can concentrate sunlight to create more heat on a surface.  According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the poolside “hot spot” has singed hair and melted plastic cups and bags, scoring it the term “Vdara Death Ray” from hotel employees and guests.  Evident for a few hours each sunny day, the spot moves across the pool area as the sun advances across the sky.  Therein lies the problem.
September 28, 2010
The construction industry training issues in the United States are considerable, but nothing when compared to the plans in India.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections of need for the construction industry in the US from 2008 through 2018 suggest that there is a need to add 180,000 new workers a year or 1.8 million new workers by 2018.  If we straight line that number through 2022 we get 2.16 million new workers.According to a post yesterday on the Poten & Patners website, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) of India has set a projection of training 150 million workers in 20 sectors by 2022.  They are projecting a need for training 33 million new construction workers over that period of time.  That equates to 6.5 times the number of construction workers needed in the US over the same period of time.The very scale of that opportunity is amazing and the implications to construction world-wide are considerable.
September 28, 2010
According to an article in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (Wasilla, Alaska), a man who hired illegal workers and paid them in cash for at least three years has now been sentenced to one year in prison followed by three years probation, and has been told to pay $336,753 following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.Esteban Lane Stubbs hired undocumented immigrants for his drywall business in the Anchorage Alaska area, paying them in cash to avoid having to pay them fair wages and benefits.  While Alaska does not yet have any laws which address wage theft and employee misclassification, Stubbs was convicted of “structuring a financial transaction” because of his attempt to hide the way he paid his employees.  Knowing that a bank is required to report cash withdrawals over $10,000 to the IRS, Stubbs routinely withdrew smaller amounts on consecutive days from different branches of First National Bank Alaska.The article quotes a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in Alaska as saying:“These low wages and the absence of costs for income taxes, employment taxes, workers compensation, unemployment insurance and other benefits paid by legitimate employers allowed Stubbs to underbid fellow contractors...  
September 27, 2010
Randy Braun, New York attorney and blogger at Juz the Fax posted a blog last week about the pending implementation of the Construction Industry Fair Play Act (CIFPA) in New York.  The bill puts specific restrictions on the classification of construction workers and Randy thinks that it might spell the end of the use of Independent Contractor status in the construction industry in New York.  About the consequences dishonest employers will face, he writes:  “CIFPA carries civil and criminal penalties both for the employer and for individual officers and shareholders who knowingly permit a willful violation of the statute. For those contractors performing public work, debarment and ineligibility to bid on public works contracts will be imposed upon a criminal conviction.”This new law, which we first wrote about a few weeks ago, goes into effect on October 26.
September 27, 2010
The current ongoing cardiac expansion to the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio is nearing completion, and marks a great success for the emerging field of prefabricated corporate construction.  “Prefab” construction is nothing new.  L. Manning built houses in London that were assembled in Australia during the early 1800’s, and during the 20th century, many houses were built in factories to replace those bombed in London during World War II.  But never before has it been implemented on this scale, with such overwhelmingly superior results: every one of the 178 patient rooms of the 12-story, 440,000 square foot project was built off-site, and was built more quickly, inexpensively and safely than could have been accomplished through traditional methods.  
September 24, 2010
Twenty-three states - make that thirty - have signed Wage Theft and/or Worker Misclassification bills into law as the focus in a number of legislatures has swung to the issue that...
September 22, 2010
If you work in the Los Angeles area and you are able to free up a few hours tomorrow morning, there will be a seminar detailing how to differentiate between an employee and an independent contractor at the Best Western Posada Royale hotel in Simi Valley.  Hosted by Nordman Cormany Hair and Compton, the 1½ hour session will speak to the legal aspects of hiring in California and how to avoid employee misclassification mistakes and penalties.
September 21, 2010
Last year, the Workers Defense Project in collaboration with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin and with a grant from the...
September 21, 2010
"You know what the trouble about real life is? There's no danger music." – Jim Carrey in The Cable GuyIf life were a movie, we would be hearing a soft, slightly threatening lyric...
September 20, 2010