Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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What We're Reading, Listening To, and Watching

Thursday, August 08, 2019

CalOSHA Adopts Emergency Smoke Regulations 
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has adopted an emergency regulation designed to protect workers from hazards associated with wildfire smoke. The regulation went into effect on July 29, 2019 and will be effective for 180 days. The regulation, however, may be extended if no permanent regulations are in place. It applies to workplaces where the current Air Quality Index for airborne particulate matter is 151 or greater, and where employers should reasonably anticipate that employees could be exposed to wildfire smoke. View the emergency regulations here. 

Building Trades warn Newsom, leaders against deal with Big Tech 
One of California's most powerful organized labor organizations is warning legislators against embracing a deal with tech companies over worker classification. Facing a California Supreme Court decision that could lead many workers to be reclassified as employees rather than independent contractors - and a bill that seeks to enshrine that decision in law - Silicon Valley businesses like Uber and Lyft are lobbying for a compromise that would offer their drivers some labor rights while preserving their contractor status. The prospect of such a deal has met pushback from critics who say it would sell workers short. The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California threw its weight behind that position Wednesday, warning against "allowing technology platform companies to exploit workers by treating them as independent contractors with substandard protections" in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders. "Creating a third category of employment that would allow technology to dictate employment status is a dangerous precedent that would undermine the Building Trades' employment and apprenticeship model by forcing employers to convert in order to compete, causing severe disruption of our entire tax base and social safety net," the letter reads, warning that it would empower "tech platform companies that dispatch misclassified workers to perform construction work." The Teamsters also signed on to the letter, though the group has joined SEIU and the United Food and Commercial Workers in deep discussions with tech companies facilitated by the Newsom administration. The tech industry, meanwhile, hopes a California deal could set a national standard - a position outlined in 
a letter to Congress this week. [Subscriber content: Politico]

Orange County, longtime GOP stronghold, now has more registered Democrats than Republicans "The county that nurtured Ronald Reagan's conservatism and is the resting place of Richard Nixon is now home to 547,458 registered Democrats, compared with 547,369 Republicans, according to statistics released early Wednesday morning by the county Registrar of Voters. And the number of voters not aligned with a political party has surged in recent years, and now tops 440,770, or 27.4% of the county's voters. Democratic leaders attributed the shift to changing demographics, aggressive recruitment efforts and President Trump." [LA Times]

Workplace injuries drive rise in overdoses, suicides An injury serious enough to trigger at least one week off from work almost tripled the combined risk of suicide and overdose death among women and increased the risk by 50% among men, researchers said. Story [Construction Dive]

7 invoice mistakes that waste time, moneySubmitting an invoice for completed work and then getting paid is about as straightforward as the construction business gets. Or at least it should be. Getting paid on time is the lifeblood for contractors, but many consistently make the same mistakes over and over when handling this vital process. Story[Construction Dive]

Contract deal gives 10% raise or more to state safety and law enforcement employees "Pay for dispatchers, security officers, inspectors and other public safety and law enforcement employees at the state will go up at least 10 percent over the next four years in a tentative agreement their union reached with the state. Additional pay raises of up to 24 percent for specific job classifications will boost pay further for the majority of the California State Law Enforcement Association's members, according to a union summary of the agreement. The 7,300-member union is the second to reach an agreement with state negotiators this summer. The agreement includes a general salary increase of 2.75 percent starting this month, followed by annual increases of up to 2.5 percent through 2022, when members will receive either 2.25 percent or 3.75 percent depending on classification." [Sacramento Bee]