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Standing Guard for Contractors

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I love many things about our political system. It’s far from perfect, and perhaps my fondness comes from my years of working in D.C. and being part of the “sausage making,” or maybe I am more of an idealist than I’d like to admit. You may recall that when I joined the ACCA team, my job was primarily focused on our government relations and advocacy work, where I led our efforts to guard your interests and fight for the industry and your bottom line. 

While my primary job duties have expanded beyond legislation, regulations, and dealing with the alphabet soup of government agencies, I still do my best to keep up with all that is going on that could help or hurt ACCA’s members. Lately, there has been a relentless pace of things coming out of the D.C. Swamp that we all need to keep an eye on because the things we follow and work on aren’t typically going to get as much news coverage as things like the next potential government shutdown. 

One of the latest attacks is a new proposed “Walk Around” rule from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). As a business owner, this rule should keep you awake and scared at night. If this rule goes into effect, it will allow union representatives to accompany federal safety inspectors during workplace inspections. The proposed rule would empower inspectors to approve a person they deem “reasonably necessary” to conduct a site visit. This could include attorneys, translators, and worker advocacy group representatives (translation – Union). Employer approval is NOT required! 

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to see happen is for this to open the door for these people to walk around your shop and job sites, interact with your employees, and potentially cause issues between you and your team. I’m sure that most of you do not want unnecessary people at your job sites. It’s not because you are doing anything wrong but because they have the potential to create tension between you and your employees, and they have no reason to attend the inspection. ACCA knows this could be devastating for our members, so we are enlisting help from friends on Capitol Hill to alert them to this effort and seek their assistance in weighing in. We, of course, will be submitting comments and looking for others with similar concerns to put up a united front and stop this latest attack. 

At least when it comes to D.C., the Boogeyman is real. There are a lot of folks and interest looking to change the way you do business, take more of your profits, and set back the progress this industry has made, and this is just one of the latest attacks ACCA wanted to flag for you and let you know we are on the front lines fighting. If you know a company that is not an ACCA member, please enlist them to join our ACCA Army to grow our voice and ability to fight these harmful attacks. 

Another proposed rule coming from the Department of Labor (DOL) that ACCA is fighting against concerns overtime pay for salaried employees. The DOL proposed a rule to guarantee overtime pay for salaried workers earning $55,000 per year when they work more than 40 hours a week. That is almost $20,000 more than the current threshold of $35,568 per year. While ACCA has no issues with paying employees for overtime they work, we do have an issue with forcing employers to either increase salaries to meet the new exemption level or reclassify employees as eligible for overtime pay. 

Like with the OSHA rule above, ACCA is at work to let our members’ voices be heard on this overtime matter. Our government should not overstep in its rulemaking and make our members pay the price. ACCA will always be standing guard for its members so that we can protect them from bad rules and legislation. And we will also be here to inform you about the beneficial rules and regulations going into effect. But we can’t do it alone. ACCA has a robust advocacy center on our website that allows you to take action to tell Congress and the government agencies what you need from them. The best way to make your voice heard is through our Action Alerts, which send a prewritten letter directly to your Members of Congress. These action alerts take, at the most, two minutes to do and really do impact what happens with potential rules, regulations, and legislation.  

We can’t be quiet! There are opportunists out there waiting for us to do that, and they are ready to swoop in and steal your profit, your success, and your legacy. If nothing else scares you about these proposed rules, re-read this paragraph’s first sentence, because that should scare you. 

ACCA will always be here fighting for YOU, our members! If you have any questions or want to chat, call me at 703-824-8858. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these and other things you see as high priorities in our industry. 

Barton James

Posted In: ACCA Now, Action Alerts, Government

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