A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

Matt Capece tracks the issue of worker misclassification and off the books payments for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, whose home office is in Derby...
Construction Citizen's picture
July 26, 2010
In a message posted last February by Mark H. Ayers, president of Building & Construction Trades Department, Mr. Ayers expresses his frustration with the prevalent practice of misclassification of workers in order to get away with under-compensating workers in the industry.  One major side-effect of misclassification is workers not receiving deserved benefits such as health insurance.  Ayres points out that lack of affordable health care options for those who are misclassified as independent contractors results in high numbers of uninsured workers.  This ultimately costs the taxpayers money in higher emergency room costs for the uninsured and their families.  Ayres writes:  “The construction industry – again, an industry dominated by the utilization of a low-wage, low-skill workforce – saddles the U.S. health care system with the highest injury and illness rate among all private industries.  In fact, it has the highest rate of non-fatal injuries and illnesses of any American industry, and it has three times the fatality rate of other private industries.
Construction Citizen's picture
July 25, 2010
We made mention of this subject in an earlier blog post and we have seen several other discussions that talk about the pros and cons of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) as part...
Jim Kollaer's picture
July 23, 2010
According to an article in the July-August 2010 issue of Design-Build Dateline, even though construction firms tend to adopt new ideas and methods a bit slowly, Lean construction...
Jerry Nevlud's picture
July 22, 2010
Construction company owners listen up.  According to an article in Finance Review, the IRS is undertaking 6,000 additional random audits over the next 3 years in order to...
Jim Kollaer's picture
July 20, 2010
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry lost 22,000 jobs during the month of June.  Some might assume this means that recruiting an adequate workforce is no longer a burning issue, but we know that despite the current conditions, there will be a shortage of construction workers by 2018 especially in the mid-level jobs.  My company recently completed the team building exercise of describing our ideal workforce for 2015.  It turns out that we have some work to do.  We are a commercial subcontractor and live and die by the talents and efforts of our supervisors, foremen, lead men, and journeymen.  In our exercise, we described each job title and how they would demonstrate leadership in every area of focus: productivity, safety, quality, company culture, and workforce development (training and developing future talent).  
Katrina Kersch's picture
July 07, 2010
On Friday Houston television station KTRX aired an interview with a building contractor in Houston, Drew Evans, who feels that his decision not to hire illegal immigrants costs him jobs which end up going to contractors who underpay their workers and can therefore submit lower bids for projects.    Mr. Evans is frustrated with the government for not enforcing the law and with other contractors who refuse to run their businesses responsibly.  He says that many Americans in service industries are similarly losing out.
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
July 04, 2010
We recently attended the annual update meeting staged by Kiley Advisors in Houston.  One of the most interesting sessions had three speakers who discussed the plusses of Lean Construction and the legal changes underway as this process is integrated into the industry.  Interestingly I found a very good description of the overall process in Wikipedia.Basically the Lean Construction Management System is an adaptation of the Lean Production System utilized by Toyota in its production plants.
Jim Kollaer's picture
July 03, 2010
Last year a survey of over 4,000 low-wage workers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles was released in the report, Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities.  The work was completed by three groups – The Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois, The National Employment Law Project, and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.The purpose of the study was to take a look at the status of labor violations among the low-wage workers in those three cities.
Jim Kollaer's picture
June 29, 2010
Mike Salsgiver, executive director of the Oregon-Columbia chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), recently wrote an interesting article about the state of...
Jim Kollaer's picture
June 28, 2010