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Weekly Roundup: ‘Highly confident’ contractors, reactions to apprenticeship rule, more

Weekly Roundup: ‘Highly confident’ contractors, reactions to apprenticeship rule, more

July 2, 2019

Contractor Insider is a weekly roundup of the latest news and insights relevant to contractors.

Contractors express positive 12-month outlook

A new construction study reveals that the majority of contractors are “highly confident” that their businesses would get new opportunities in the next 12 months. Fox Business

  • Almost 52 percent of contractors share a positive outlook on the industry’s market conditions, according to the study titled 2019 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index Opens a New Window.
  • More than 2,700 construction professionals in the commercial sector were surveyed for this study, according to USG Corporation.
  • “The construction industry is a reflection of our country’s broader economic health, so contractor optimism is a great sign for everyone,” said USG Corporation CEO Chris Griffin in a statement.

Proposed apprenticeship rule divides unions, contractors

The US Department of Labor (DoL) has proposed a new rule exempting the construction industry from participating in the country’s Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). The proposal has met split reactions from contractors and union. ENR

  • IRAPs are “redundant in an industry that has already built such a successful system to meet workforce needs,” according to Laborers’ International Union of North America General President Terry O’Sullivan.
  • However, contractors believe that it is still “difficult for many firms and their partners to establish apprenticeship programs for construction workers,” said Stephen Sandherr of the Associated General Contractors of America.
  • Some contractor groups have however expressed support to the proposal, including the National Electrical Contractors Association and the Association of Union Contractors.
  • The DoL is open for formal comments and suggestions from both proposals and opponents of the rule until August 26.

PMI CEO testifies against Section 301 Tariffs

CEO Kerry Stackpole of Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) testified before the US Trade Representative about the possible negative effects of imposing 25% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. Plumbing Perspective

  • The latest list of goods included in Section 301 Tariffs includes toilets, sinks, and shower heads. Other items such as vegetables, software, and clothing are also proposed to incur 25% tariffs.
  • “These additional proposed tariffs will cause disproportionate harm to U.S. economic interests,” said Stackpole in his testimony.
  • Stackpole echoed the US administration’s concern over China’s policies but insisted that imposing additional tariffs would only lead to further Chinese retaliation.
  • PMI signed a coalition letter to President Donald Trump expressing opposition against the tariffs. Over 600 companies are part of the coalition.