September 2009: President???s Message

Words: Dan KamysSeptember 2009 alt President's Message Tom Daniel

MCAA in D.C.

As president of the MCAA, I often will hear, “What is the MCAA doing for me? I belong to my local or state group, so why would I need or want to belong to the national association?" Following are just a few of the many important issues with which your association is involved.

Our industry traditionally has been the target of controversial national legislation and regulation by standard writing bodies and or organizations such as OSHA. During the past few months, the MCAA has played defense on many fronts. The MCAA visited Washington, D.C., recently to present a letter requesting an exemption to a recent rule that OSHA has begun stringently enforcing. The rule requires bricklayers/masons to wear gloves at all times on the job. We are awaiting a decision on our request for exemption.

The same visit to Washington brought about some heavy lobbying on Capitol Hill to garner support of the repeal of the 3 percent withholding on all federal government contracts, which is scheduled to take place in 2012 unless repealed. Currently, all subcontractors have to prove they have paid employment taxes on their work, and the withholding of 3 percent of the contract will not be reimbursed until well after the job is done, if then.

The MCAA also had a representative in Washington to testify before Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) on the position of the MCAA with regard to silica. There are many proposals currently before ACCSH and OSHA that are stringent in regards to a new rule on silica. This new rule is being streamlined by the Department of Labor in order to expedite the rule writing process. A preliminary rule will be out in the fall of 2010, with a final rule in place by early-2011. Ergonomics is another issue the MCAA is monitoring closely. The implementation of a new ergonomics standard has been strongly discussed.

A MCAA member testified before Congressman Eric Cantor and others in Congress on the impact the new proposed Health Care plan (House Bill 3200) would have on their business. The MCAA is dealing with a number of other issues that will dramatically impact you as a contractor. Some of the issues involve the MCAA promoting sustainable masonry systems as a viable option on future construction projects.

Even given the current economic conditions, your participation and involvement in the MCAA are critical to our industry. The issues we are dealing with will have a dramatic impact on our industry for years to come. Don’t sit on the sidelines and let this happen. We need each and every mason contractor’s voice to be heard on these critical national issues.

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