Quite a great deal of movement has happened at NUCA this year. All of the changes made have been focused on streamlining the association to work better for you and the industry at large. I’m proud of the work we’ve all done – fellow NUCA members, chapters, our Sponsors, and national staff have pulled together this year and the results speak for themselves. Take a moment to congratulate yourself and your colleagues, but also remember the work never stops. We’ve made impressive strides in the right direction in 2019. I’m excited to see what we can do together in 2020.
It’s been a tough year in Washington for any legislative program, with partisan gridlock and presidential impeachment dominating calendars. Infrastructure improvements seem to be one of the few ideas both parties agree on. But it takes a strong, experienced hand to maneuver around the roadblocks.
Eben Wyman, of Wyman & Associates, a long-established leader in the construction industry’s lobbying team in Washington, joined our advocacy program this summer. Wyman & Associates is already showing results through their advocacy of the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act (H.R. 1497), reauthorizing state water infrastructure programs. We lobbied for the funding this bill represents at the Washington Summit this past May. I’m pleased to say that it is heading for expected Congressional passage early next year.
Besides urging passage of H.R. 1497 at the Summit, we also sought a solution that stabilizes the Highway Trust Fund. Some of what we sought made its way into the surface transportation reauthorization bill that is moving in the Senate and will be taken up in 2020 by the House. We’ve made a difference in D.C., and that work is beginning to pay off. It’s important we keep this momentum going.
NUCA’s popular Trench Safety Stand Down week, held this year on June 17-21, more than doubled industry participation: More than 47,000 industry employees at 4,500 jobsites participated in this OSHA-supported program. These are real people who each learned about avoiding jobsite hazards around excavations. Just think, only two years ago we had 17,000 employees in our TSSD program, so the word is getting around the industry that NUCA leads the way in safety education and training. Additionally, great efforts were made to reach out beyond our industry, resulting in multiple sponsorships for the program. All of our efforts resulted in the Governors of several U.S. states issuing proclamations calling the week of June 17-21 officially “Trench Safety Stand Down Week.” How’s that for recognition?
We all know how tough it has been over the last two years in the midst of a booming economy to find qualified employees to help us complete a backlog of projects. Given the ability to find the new people we need, we could provide good paying work to thousands of new employees. The end result would be a win/win: our companies would continue to grow and we’d be helping new employees start on a path to a career of their dreams. Besides urging Congress to pass legislation (S. 839, the JOBS Act) that will help students gain the skills needed to compete in tomorrow’s economy and cover short-term job training programs, NUCA is working with its chapters to identify existing local and state workforce development programs. These partnerships will have the potential to deliver more trained employees to our industry.
We’re heading into the holiday season. Remember your employees and their dedication to the job and your company. Showing your appreciation at employee meetings to those who have dedicated sweat and blood can go a long way to retaining your workforce. Be thankful to all of those in your life who deliver satisfaction and joy to you and your own goals and aspirations, and in doing so, you will help do the same for them.
From my family to yours, I wish you a Happy Holiday, a Merry Christmas, and a profitable New Year.
Dan Buckley, NUCA Chairman of the Board/Garney Construction