Argos driver hands NLRB a vehicle to affirm sound cell phone policy

A top ready mixed producer’s alleged unfair practices case has spawned a decision demonstrating the National Labor Relations Board’s return to decades-old, court-tested standards and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) interpretations. It triggered a welcome rebuke of agency actions under the Obama administration, many of them skewed to Big Labor or injecting ambiguity in routine union grievance and employer response reviews.

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Waters rule counters Washington swamp

Release of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Army Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) spotlighted Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting requirements that constrain land use, limit property rights, and drive up business or consumer costs. Indeed, preliminary estimates suggest NWPR adoption yielding upward of $500 million in permit streamlining and related savings annually.

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Ten years of big developments

The past decade brought advances in fleet management technology, plant equipment and materials, along with merger and acquisition activity and new market demands certain to shape ready mixed and manufactured concrete in the 2020s. In ready mixed, producers incurred higher costs of EPA 2010-compliant diesel trucks, but realized new quality control, customer relationship and cost management opportunities from GPS, telematics, Internet of Things tools and data analytics.

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Safety levels, workforce pool sure to take hit from marijuana legalization

The National Mixer Driver Championship is one of the most successful efforts to date from National Ready Mixed Concrete Association members and staff. We look forward to covering the event (pages 14-15) and joining in a salute to drivers and the competence, professionalism and sound judgment they exude. Ready mixed producers and their mainline trucking peers could use more commercial driver’s license holders or candidates exhibiting such qualities, yet are likely to see fewer in the fallout of a highly questionable trend among state legislatures: Legalizing recreational cannabis or marijuana use.

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Court shows do’s, don’ts, dares of union-organizing resistance

A legal petition involving the United Steel Workers (USW), National Labor Relations Board and an equipment manufacturer provides employers an instructive take on permissible language and tactics for confronting union representation campaigns. A U.S. Court of Appeals opinion honored an employer’s challenge of NLRB decisions surrounding a 2015 USW organizing campaign. Union-friendly decisions went hand in hand with National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) interpretations the Board made while answering to President Barack Obama.

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Concrete carbonation facts counter claims of investors hung up on cement plant emissions

The London-based Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) has recently approached CRH Plc, HeidelbergCement AG and LafargeHolcim Ltd. about commitments to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions no later than 2050. The call to action aligns with strategies in the United Nations Conference of Parties’ (COP 21) 2015 Paris Agreement. The 150-plus signatory countries volunteer CO2 emission reductions whereby projected global temperatures rise no more than 1.5°C over this century.

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Google sister company’s timber dream warrants safe building practice search

The bill of goods that purveyors of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels and companion, engineered wood assemblies pitch to building design and construction interests continues to baffle. A campaign to legitimize CLT as viable for mid- to high-rise building is taking shape substantively and symbolically: Recent International Code Council hearings saw mass timber proponents look beyond an 85-ft. height threshold for local building code-sanctioned application of their products. Wood product cheerleaders, meanwhile, skirt matters like occupant safety but stress environmental or building practice milestones when presenting a mid- or high-rise structure for which mass timber is the primary load-bearing material.

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Eagle directors take page from TXI, Trinity, Grace, Heidelberg

Pointed exchanges between Eagle Materials management and a major shareholder culminated late last month with a proposed split of the Dallas producer’s Light and Heavy Materials businesses. The latter encompasses Fairborn Cement Co., Illinois Cement Co., Central Plains Cement Co., Mountain Cement Co., Nevada Cement Co., and Texas-Lehigh Cement; GGBF slag cement processor and supplier Skyway Cement; plus, integrated concrete and aggregates operations in Texas, Kansas City and northern California.

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