TRIA Fly-In to Washington, DC
From April 5-7, TRIA’s Government Relations Committee held a fly-in to Washington, DC in conjunction with NRCA’s Roofing Day In DC. TRIA supports Roofing Day, which lobbies on industry-wide consensus issues, and this year’s emphasized workforce needs including more funding for career and technical education grants; adjustment to permanent resident status for qualified individuals working legally under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s proposed construction-specific visa program. TRIA’s meetings focused on OSHA issues to prepare for a challenging regulatory agenda in the next 2½ years. The TRIA team met with members of Congress including Sen. Roger Marshall, and Reps. Fred Keller, Scott Fitzgerald, Troy Nehls, Scott Franklin and Mike Johnson, and also met with top staff of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).
OSHA Proposes to Decertify Arizona’s State Plan
On April 26, OSHA announced it’s moving to decertify Arizona’s state plan:
OSHA proposes to reconsider and revoke Arizona’s state OSHA plan – Responding to concerns about Arizona’s commitment to worker safety and health, OSHA is proposing to reconsider and revoke the final approval of Arizona’s state OSHA plan. The announcement follows nearly a decade-long pattern of failures to adopt and enforce sufficiently effective standards and enforcement policies.
Only Obama’s and now Biden’s OSHA have questioned Arizona’s commitment to worker safety, whereas contractors have had a positive dialogue with the AZ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH). The top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, Rep. Virginia Foxx, put out a statement critical of OSHA’s proposed takeover of the Arizona state plan.
OSHA Heat Hazard NEP
On April 12, Labor Sec. Walsh and Vice President Harris announced the “first ever” OSHA National Emphasis Program (NEP) to reduce workplace heat illnesses and injuries. Per the DOL/OSHA press release, “…this NEP is a way to immediately improve enforcement and compliance efforts, while continuing long-term work to establish a heat illness prevention rule.” OSHA plans to conduct inspections in over 70 high-risk industries including construction when the National Weather Service issues a heat warning or advisory for an area. Inspectors and compliance assistance specialists also will engage in “proactive outreach and…assistance” on days when the heat index is 80ᵒ F or higher.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
On April 7, NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memo stating her intent to have the NLRB ban so called “captive audience” meetings. These are meetings employers typically hold during union organizing drives to express their views on unions and the workplace, which are held during worktime and employees are paid for the time spent at such meetings. The National Labor Relations Act allows employers to express their views so long as they’re free from threats or coercion and since 1948 the NLRB has upheld a company’s right to require employees on company time to attend such meetings. But Abruzzo says the 1948 decision was “incorrectly” decided and such meetings are “inherently coercive” and should be banned. This policy change is from the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act that’s stalled in the Senate, and Abruzzo will use her post to push this PRO Act provision and others such as card-check union certifications (instead of secret-ballot elections) wherever possible.
EPA Plans to Expand Air Emissions Reporting
The EPA is proceeding on new air emissions reporting requirements including expanding the scope and number of facilities that would need to report directly to the EPA. This rule could potentially cover all air emissions under the Clean Air Act, i.e., criteria pollutants covered by the New Source Performance Standards and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs). The list of possibly affected NAICS codes captures many categories including manufacturing and construction. The SBA is now recruiting small businesses and their representatives (including trade associations) to convene a SBREFA (Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act) panel on the likely impacts of EPA’s rule and regulatory alternatives to minimize those impacts.