A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

In a January 19th Houston Chronicle article entitled, Working: A plea for fair play, L.M. Sixel discusses how due to the economy, many construction companies are resorting to misclassifying their workers as 1099 or independent contractors instead of employees in order to get out of paying payroll taxes and benefits.Marek Brothers Systems, a Houston-based commercial interior construction firm, rightfully classifies its 2,000 workers as employees, which, according to the article, means "Marek pays the employer's half of Social Security taxes, pays unemployment insurance taxes, and provides employees a 401(k) plan and subsidized health insurance."
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 20, 2011
As you saw in David Dennis’ blog post earlier this week, these are the times when doing the right thing becomes more important than ever but it becomes even harder when owner’s and the competition is squeezing you, your profits and your training for the future.Since the recession and the current unemployment in our industry of over 20%, many of us have shelved training for a workforce for the future. One thing we need to remember about the future is that it arrives whether we are ready or not. One of my friends told me the other day that the future is already here, it is just not widely distributed yet.In the 2008 US Bureau of Labor Statistics study of the workforce needs for the next decade we learned that the industry would likely need 1,800,000 new construction workers by 2018 to offset the retirements and the demands for new construction. Surely we have had to reset those numbers and extend that period to 2020, but the demand and the need will be there.  
Jim Kollaer's picture
January 19, 2011
Is the Economy impacting your training and development budget?  In a recent survey conducted by Metri-Mark, Inc., 55% of training managers responded that due to the recent economic climate their companies have reduced their training budget, and 25% reported a shift in the overall focus of their company.  The good news was the 31% who reported no significant changes due to the economy.Even the most responsible of construction companies are feeling pressure to find ways to bid work below their competitors.  The temptation is there to let someone else worry about training the construction craft workforce and leave recruiting
Katrina Kersch's picture
January 18, 2011
In our current economic situation, when money is tight, most subcontractors face the same dilemma.  The owners are demanding the least expensive project cost all the while believing that the project will be built "Per Plans & Specs", and "On Time."  Each general contractor has their own set of safety and quality standards.  The sub then has to submit their proposal knowing the material costs are almost the same, the labor hours somewhat comparable, and the equipment similar.  Really, the main variables are overhead and profit.  Now that general construction jobs are limited, the profit is minimized or set at breakeven and overhead has already been cut to the bone, so where does that leave safety and quality?  It takes money for employee training sessions, meetings, and safety equipment. Quality comes from attention to detail and an employee mindset where craftspeople evaluate their own work and ask "would I buy this?"  
David Dennis's picture
January 17, 2011
This letter is from the first newsletter that we received going into the new year and it is important.  It describes one company’s workforce development program that meets...
Jim Kollaer's picture
January 15, 2011
In spite of the recession, luxury retailers continue to market to the wealthy who visit Las Vegas from all over the world each year.  Vegas is the home of the famous Caesars...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 13, 2011
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is considering interagency collaboration to step up enforcement of worker misclassification violations in Texas, a point they discussed in a meeting with construction industry leaders in December.Misclassification occurs when employers wrongfully identify their employees as independent contractors by providing them with a 1099 form instead of the W-2 for employees or by paying wages in cash and failing to withhold taxes.  By misclassifying their workers, unscrupulous employers cut their costs by getting out of paying payroll taxes and fraudulently obtaining workers compensation policies for fewer workers than they actually employ.When government agencies such as the TWC, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Attorney General of Texas share information, they can improve enforcement efforts by identifying likely violations for more effective investigations.
Emily Timm's picture
January 11, 2011
Steel construction on One World Trade Center, formerly called the Freedom Tower, reached the 52nd floor just before Christmas last month, marking the half-way point toward...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 10, 2011
If we are in the bottom of the recession river, it is much wider than most folks thought it might be.  The recovery is taking longer that the economists thought and the...
Jim Kollaer's picture
January 06, 2011
Cyndi Mergele, Senior Manager at Padgett, Stratemann & Co., L.L.P. in San Antonio, wrote an interesting article for the Construction News, a newspaper focusing on the...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
January 05, 2011