Civic Action News

Governors attack order requiring labor agreements on large federal projects

Governors of nine states in the SSMRC’s 11-state jurisdiction have signed a letter opposing an executive order issued in February that requires project labor agreements on large, federally funded construction projects.

SSMRC, UBC fighting tax fraud because it harms workers, law-abiding contractors, communities, taxpayers

Regional councils and locals that make up the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, our parent organization, participated in more than 200 events and initiatives across the United States and Canada during construction-industry Tax Fraud Days of Action, April 11-16, 2022.

Senator’s plan would raise taxes on 40% of Americans, end Social Security, Medicare

A proposal by a Republican U.S. senator from Florida would increase income taxes for the lowest-earning 40% of Americans and allow all federal legislation to "sunset" within five years, meaning programs including Social Security, Medicare, and more would end unless Congress reauthorized them.

Oklahoma, Louisiana consider cutting duration of unemployment benefits

Several state legislatures, including those in Oklahoma and Louisiana, are considering cuts to their unemployment-benefit programs that would reduce the number of weeks people can receive aid, lower weekly benefit amounts, or make work-search requirements tougher.

Georgia lawmakers approve program that would reward contractors for employing apprentices

Georgia contractors will soon be able to "sponsor" apprentices in U.S. Labor Department-registered apprenticeship programs for high-demand careers and receive a "contract completion award" of up to $10,000 for each apprentice who remains in their employment through program completion.

Federal task force releases recommendations for promoting worker organizing

The White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment has released a report with nearly 70 recommendations that promote worker organizing and collective bargaining.

NLRB attorney speeding to protect workers, unions

The National Labor Relations Board's new head lawyer has been working quickly to beef up legal protections for workers and unions and to increase penalties for violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

SSMRC members, staff attend Get Out To Vote Conference

Six members and staff of the SSMRC gained valuable information and tools to share by attending the 2022 Get Out To Vote Conference, held by our parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, at its International Training Center in Las Vegas.

Council staff participate in labor roundtable with vice president, DOL secretary

Two SSMRC staff members were among a small group of union leaders who met with the U.S. vice president and labor secretary in Durham, North Carolina, on March 2, sharing concerns about unfair competition from law-breaking contractors and about the need for government policies that support contractors who hire skilled workers and provide good wages and benefits.

We’re working to level the playing field for law-abiding contractors

The political arms of the Southern States Millwrights and our parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, are working to stop illegal labor practices that give unscrupulous contractors and facility owners an unfair advantage when competing against law-abiding companies. These illegal labor practices include worker misclassification, tax fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, and more. One issue […]

Georgia bill would help protect workers from misclassification, loss of benefits

A bill in the Georgia House of Representatives would change the definition of "employment" to include "services performed by an individual for wages" unless the individual is free from control or direction over the performance of such services.

Re-vote begins at Alabama Amazon warehouse

Workers at a Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon warehouse are voting for a second time in less than a year on whether to join a union. If they vote in favor this time, the Bessemer facility will be the first unionized Amazon warehouse in the United States.

President signs executive order requiring labor agreements on large federal construction projects

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Feb. 4 requiring project labor agreements on federal construction projects that cost more than $35 million. Project labor agreements are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors that determine wages, employment conditions, and dispute-resolution processes.

Southeast Carpenters help pass law clamping down on contractor non-payment of workers’ compensation premiums

A law enacted in Tennessee last year with the help of the Southeast Carpenters Regional Council will make it tougher for unethical contractors to get away with not paying workers' compensation insurance premiums.

OLMS rescinds Trump administration rule that unjustly burdened unions

The Office of Labor-Management Standards has rescinded a Trump-administration rule that imposed unjustified and burdensome paperwork requirements on labor unions.

NBC Nightly News: Unpaid construction workers go hungry while others profit

Focusing on a case that began in Iowa with the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters giving aid to six construction workers who were starving, NBC Nightly News broadcast a special segment on wage theft in the construction industry.

Council EST and political director discuss labor issues with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams

In a meeting with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Jan. 31, SSMRC leaders discussed labor issues including visa-program abuses, project labor agreements, and tax and workers' compensation fraud by unscrupulous contractors.

See county-level information on projects the American Rescue Plan Act is funding

A provision of the American Rescue Plan Act allocated $65.1 billion to every county in the United States. According to the National Association of Counties, this funding is providing "direct, flexible aid."

U.S. Congress considering legislation that would reduce costs for working families, invest in union apprenticeships and rural communities

Efforts continue in the U.S. Congress to pass Build Back Better legislation that would assist working families with child- and elder-care costs, reduce health-care costs, housing, and education costs, and invest in union apprenticeships, rural communities, and union-built clean-energy projects including wind-turbine installation.

Study reveals so-called ‘right-to-work’ states have worse economic, health, social, civic outcomes

During an eight-year period of national economic expansion following the recession of 2008, the 27 U.S. states with so-called “right-to-work” laws experienced slower economic growth, lower wages, higher consumer debt, worse health outcomes, and lower levels of civic participation than states without those laws, according to a study released last year.

Study shows 39% of construction families need public assistance, costing tax payers $28 billion per year

A report the University of California Berkeley Labor Center released in January reveals that 39% of construction worker families nationwide are forced to enroll in one or more safety-net programs to make ends meet.

Council staff meet with Alabama politicians, industry leaders

Three SSMRC representatives discussed the benefits of our workforce with Alabama political and industry leaders during the Manufacture Alabama Annual Legislative Reception and Dinner held in Montgomery on Jan. 11.

What the proposed Tennessee Right-to-Work Amendment would mean for working families and who would really benefit

In November of this year, members who live in Tennessee will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed amendment – Amendment No. 1 – that would add a falsely named “right-to-work” clause to the state constitution.

U.S. Senate debates voting-rights legislation

The U.S. Senate is debating two bills that would establish rules regarding voting and elections. Supporters say the legislation – the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – would make it easier for hard-working American citizens to vote while strengthening election security and limiting corporate influence on elections.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks OSHA vaccine mandate

On Jan. 13, the Supreme Court of the United States blocked a mandate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that would have required all employers with 100 or more employees to require those employees to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to be tested weekly and wear masks at work.

Labor Department launches Apprenticeship Ambassador Program

The video above announcing the Apprenticeship Ambassador Program features UBC member Jovan Johnson and Barbara Hampton, president and CEO of SSMRC partnering contractor Siemens USA.

U.S. Labor Department proposes ending Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program

The Labor Department is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would eliminate the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program started under the Trump administration so the department can direct its resources toward Registered Apprenticeships (union apprenticeship programs are "registered apprenticeships").

Growing labor movement gains victories at Amazon, Starbucks

During the past month, the National Labor Relations Board ordered a new union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, and, for the first time, workers at a Starbucks store voted to unionize.