A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

Shell Oil, has for the last few decades, brought the best and brightest thinkers and futurists together to create scenarios for what the emerging futures might be for the next 50 years around the globe, what the implications might be for the energy business during that period and what the underlying assumptions might be for the countries where they operate.The scenario process usually takes two years and the team interviews business and government leaders, thinkers, futurists and reviews the most current literature from the academic world.  As the futurist and author Joe Jaworski told me, the scenarios for the possible futures emerge from the dialog and the conversation.Perhaps it is like the multiple colored tracks we see on the weather report when a hurricane like Irene is approaching.  
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 01, 2011
This month, the market research firm Harris Interactive surveyed 2450 adult Americans and determined that Americans have a conflicted opinion about labor unions.  As explained in today’s press release, the latest Harris Poll reveals several interesting contrasting results from the survey.  Even people from households with union workers are critical of some union conduct, although they are less critical than those from nonunion households.Survey results include:Most Americans (including both union and nonunion) agree that unions improve wages and working conditions of workers.Even among union households most people believe that unions are too involved in politics:   
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
August 31, 2011
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) issued a press release yesterday claiming that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is overstepping and favoring the unions. The release says:“Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today criticized two decisions issued by the Democrat-appointed majority of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that negatively impact employees’ rights.  First, the NLRB overruled a 2007 decision granting employees the ability to file a decertification petition for a secret-ballot election within 45 days after an employer recognizes a union as a monopoly bargaining agent.  Second, the board ruled in favor of creating a new standard for a bargaining unit, despite the fact that the current 20-year old standard has been without controversy.”The release quotes ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr as stating:
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 31, 2011
The construction industry has begun to place an even greater focus on safety on the jobsite.  According to the latest National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2010 conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, that effort is beginning to pay off in fewer workplace fatalities.According to the study, “The number of fatal work injuries in the private industry construction sector declined by 10 percent in 2010.  Fatal work injuries in construction have declined every year since 2006 and are down nearly 40 percent over that time.  Economic conditions may explain much of this decline with total hours worked having declined another 6 percent in construction in 2010, after declines in both 2008 and 2009.  Even with the lower fatal injury total, construction accounted for more fatal work injuries than any other industry in 2010.”  
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 29, 2011
As Hurricane Irene approaches New York and other cities on the east coast of the US, construction sites everywhere are halting work and securing work sites in preparation for the...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
August 26, 2011
Last week, we attended a dinner of the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center at which a vote was taken on the worst case of wage theft and worker abuse on  the cases where...
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 25, 2011
Agents of the government of northern California’s Butte County have taken steps to deter contractors working in the swimming pool and roofing industries from cheating the workers’ compensation system and to level the playing field for those who abide by the law.  Pool permits will now have to include proof of workers’ compensation coverage for all who are to work on the projects, and the California State License Board (CSLB) will now be notified when anyone claims exemption from workers’ compensation coverage in all reroofing permits, which may result in more site visits by CSLB to see if the exemption claims are legitimate.According to the news distribution website PR Newswire (registration required), the California Professional
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
August 25, 2011
According to Reuters, “A leading indicator of nonresidential construction in the United States, [the American Institute of Architects Billings Index,] fell for a fourth straight month in July, in a sign that demand for offices and other commercial properties is weakening.”That is not a good sign for the shrinking backlogs of construction companies around the country and might point to a really tough next 6 months and even into 2012.The index dropped to 45.1, and since anything under 50 speaks to a weakening economy, we may be looking at more consolidations and mergers in both the design and construction firms around the country.The billings index usually leads the construction indexes by 12 months or so, those pundits who
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 18, 2011
CBS News’ What’s Trending recently spotlighted Gary Russo, a construction foreman working in New York on the second avenue subway project.  Russo has attracted much attention and has generated several YouTube posts which have gone viral since he brought his karaoke machine to work and began singing Frank Sinatra songs for his fellow workers and passersby during his lunch breaks.In the video interview by Michelle Castillo of What’s Trending, Russo offers this advice:“Find out what you love to do, and do it.  Don’t worry about getting paid, don’t worry about is it hard or not, just do it.”The 50-year-old claims to be a normal guy who has gone through many of the same problems as others, 
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
August 17, 2011
The debate goes on without resolution.  “Are undocumented workers taking good construction jobs away from hard-working Americans?”  One side says an emphatic “Yes.”...
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 15, 2011