If you have been around Texas construction in the past decade, you’ve no doubt heard about a foreman shopping his crew around. You’ve probably worried about a key superintendent or project manager taking his skills to your competitor. Maybe you have lost sleep over an estimator with a LinkedIn profile that says he is immediately open to a new job.
In October 2016, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidance identifying poaching agreements and wage-fixing agreements as primary antitrust enforcement targets. In April 2018, DOJ brought the Department’s first enforcement case over illegal anti-competitive employment related agreements.
In a market where skilled labor is in increasingly high demand, and the price of labor continues to rise, scrutiny of employment-related agreements is also on the rise. Industries facing skilled labor shortages are natural targets of DOJ scrutiny, the construction industry is no exception.
Continue Reading Anti-Poaching and Wage-Fixing Agreements: Drawing the Line Between Competitive and Criminal
Since at least 2008, Flood, Fire, Famine and Pestilence have ravaged the construction workforce across America. In the downturn, many workers left the industry never to return. Others left the U.S. and have not returned. Couple that with construction growth, a resistance to training workers who may leave for another dollar an hour, and seeming lack of interest in construction jobs by the current generation now entering the workforce, and you’ve got the makings of a big challenge.
Protect yourself on the contracting side before heading into the storm . . .…
Understand and navigate the government’s amplified focus on undocumented workers to protect your business from escalating fines, jail time, delay damages and back-charges
Whatever your political views, undocumented workers and the businesses that knowingly or unknowingly employ them have been under the microscope since President Trump took office in January 2017.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), between Oct. 1, 2017, and May 4, 2018, there were:
- 2,282 employer audits opened, nearly a 60% jump from the 1,360 audits opened between October 2016 and September 2017,
- 594 employers arrested on criminal immigration charges, up from 139 during the previous fiscal year, and
- 610 civil immigration charges, compared to 172 in the preceding 12 months
Texas is a hot-bed for construction. In 2016, according to the Virtual Builders Exchange, Texas was second only to New York in construction expenditures, spending $44.4 billion. And there is no sign that the proliferation of construction is slowing down. New housing starts are up in Texas as a result of an influx of new employees moving to the area. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Texas has experienced the largest population growth of any state between 2010 and 2016. This, in turn, increases demand on civil infrastructure thus requiring more construction. This explosion of growth in construction spending has taken place without consideration given to the rebuilding efforts arising from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Continue Reading Protecting Yourself in a Volatile Labor Market