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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Judges show humor in fitting response to Laborers’ hot air

Balloon raw

“Scabby” the inflatable rat has always seemed more impactful than a group of grizzled, union rank & file picketing a construction site where non-union peers are executing contracts at more competitive rates. Unions dispatch the rentable balloons—portable, inflatable in minutes or less, and commanding a footprint no larger than a pickup truck or SUV—as an effective means of expressing grievances against merit shop contractors.

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False Claims Act meets air entrainment

A case involving alleged False Claims Act violations and Pennsylvania precaster Universal Concrete Products Corp. is drawing to a close in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria. It unfolded over three years from claims of an ex-quality control technician-turned-whistleblower who is now on track to share in “recoveries” from his former employer and colleagues.

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Honoring contractors’ competitive drive

Job seekers were flooded with positive labor market signals in 2018, wage spikes, widespread openings, workforce development initiatives, and employer training commitments from President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers among them. The Associated General Contractors of America and Associated Builders & Contractors peg construction labor pool growth at more than 4 percent last year. Challenges members of both groups continually cite in finding qualified workers suggest another construction season friendly to tradesmen who want hours and know a good time for wage premiums when they see it.

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