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Companies and individuals have long used independent contractor relationships to provide workers greater flexibility and to lower costs. However, in a recent case before the California Supreme Court, a new standard was adopted to determine whether a worker is properly classified as an employee or an independent contractor. In a seismic shift, the court held that all workers are presumed to be employees, and that companies must prove that independent contractors are properly classified under the new standard, reversing decades long assumption of the reverse relationship. Prior to this decision, California courts used a multi-factor standard, in which such aspects ...
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On April 3, 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced a list of Chinese imports that would be subject to an additional 25 percent tariff. The following list highlights some of the HVAC products that are affected by the new tariffs. The full list can be found here . If you would like to learn more about the tariff’s and how ACCA is working to insulate our members from the impacts, you might want to check out the recent webinar “Navigating New Tariffs in an Era of Growing Volatility” ACCA contractor member, Dustin Denison of Applied Energy Innovations, Gary Elekes of EPC Training and myself did for Contracting Business on the ...
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On Thursday May 10th I attended the fifth and final meeting of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion.  President Trump established the Task Force, and charged the members with identifying strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors like HVACR, where apprenticeship programs are insufficient. After that meeting the Task Force submitted to the President a final report which details strategies and proposals on the following fronts: Federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships; Administrative and legislative reforms that would facilitate the formation and success of apprenticeship programs; The most effective ...
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The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division has long been threatening that it might start treating “no-poach” or “mutual no-hire” agreement between companies as criminal violations of antitrust laws. That day may be here now. As this blog’s readers are aware, the Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits contracts, conspiracies, or combinations “in restraint of trade.” On April 3, 2018, the Antitrust Division announced it had filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against, and subsequently settled with, two very large rail equipment suppliers, in mutual resolution of DOJ claims against them that the companies had for many years maintained unlawful “no-poach” ...
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“ACCA commends EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for his decision to use publicly available research as the basis for EPA’s future regulatory decisions.” One of the six policy and regulatory priorities ACCA, and the entire HVACR Alliance put forward to the Trump Administration and Congress in January 2017 was Utilizing Industry Consensus Standards. “For far too long federal regulations have been enacted by government agencies who circumvent the Office of Management and Budget direction (Circular A-119), which directs federal agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in lieu of government- unique standards. ACCA believes the is a positive step by the EPA ...
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The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) recently submitted a statement for the record to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources for its April 25 hearing on Jobs and Opportunity: Employer Perspectives on the Jobs Gap.   In this statement ACCA underscored for Congress the workforce crisis the HVACR industry is facing currently, and the alarming estimates coming out of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for the HVACR Industry by 2022.  We encouraged the Committee and all of Congress to focus on this crisis now, and look at ways to develop and fund programs.  We also underscored the need to change the messaging to ...
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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which contains numerous provisions impacting the HVAC industry, was signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017. It was introduced in Congress on November 2, 2017, which means it moved through the legislative process rather quickly once there was somewhat of a clear path to the President’s desk. Most ACCA Members know (or should know) that one of the provisions included in the tax overhaul was the HVAC Expensing and Technology (HEAT) Act. I’ll skip the “how a bill becomes a law” social studies refresher, but it’s very common for individual pieces of legislation to be rolled into larger packages. The HEAT Act was introduced by ...
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Did you know there are over 40 workforce development programs spread across 14 agencies? As the backbone of the American economy, America needs a skilled workforce. With more than two million jobs created in 2017 and the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, the lowest in more than 17 years, now is the time to make the proper investments to keep our workforce strong. Currently, there are millions of job openings and millions of workers seeking new jobs, yet job creators like ACCA Members report difficulty hiring workers with the right skills for the jobs they need to fill. ACCA is working to shine a spotlight on this issue, and help the Federal Government get ...
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We’ve been blogging for several years now on the passage of laws involving both medical and recreational marijuana laws in the states and District of Columbia. Here is a summary of where the rules on cannabis stand today. In 1996, California became the first state to enact legislation allowing the use of marijuana. And, most recently, on January 22, 2018, Vermont joined twenty-nine other states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico allowing for the comprehensive use of some form of marijuana in the United States. (For a map and detailed discussion of State Medical Marijuana Laws, including programs allowing for drug use, see ...
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Hopefully you all survived that dreaded day in mid-April when taxes are due. Tax Day is a day most Americans dread. Filing US taxes is a pain, made even more painful if you itemize deductions—the process of compiling the spending exempt from taxes, like mortgage interest payments and charitable contributions, can be arduous and annoying. Keeping track of these deductions is such an annoyance that, according to a recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, many taxpayers forgo thousands of dollars to avoid doing it. The study tracks who chooses to itemize their deductions, and who doesn’t, to cleverly reveal why taxpayers are willing ...
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As the ACCA staff person assigned to keep our industry proactive in the model codes arena, I recently attended the I-Codes proposal hearings in Columbus, OH with John Sedine, ACCA past chair and president of Engineered Heating and Cooling. John also serves as a member of ACCA’s Codes Committee. Before the start of these hearings, the ACCA Codes Committee reviewed proposed changes to the mechanical portions of the International Residential Code (IRC), and the International Mechanical Code (IMC). There were a number of proposals identified for ACCA opposition or support. Additionally, there were several proposals that ACCA had submitted, including (a) add newly ...
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ACCA’s Todd Washam and I spent last week on Capitol Hill discussing how immigration reform could potentially help address workforce issues contractors are experiencing. With recent predictions we might see another push in Congress to reach an immigration deal by early summer. ACCA has been targeting seasoned immigration policy experts to help them better under the workforce shortage emergency the HVACR industry is facing, and the ripple effects this shortage is having on Americans. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was recently quoted saying, “There’s a deal to take care of them and get the border wall we desperately need, plus interior enforcement to make ...
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ACCA members understand firsthand the importance of putting customers first. One way to help your customers is through education. Rural customers might be surprised to learn there are incentive programs like the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvements Loans & Grants . This program was created during the last Farm Bill, to help agriculture producers and small businesses in eligible rural areas make energy efficiency improvements. On the list of eligible improvements are: Geothermal High efficiency heating, ventilation and air ...
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ACCA members understand first-hand the importance of putting customers first. In fact, ACCA released a public statement making it clear to President Trump and his Administration that ACCA members were very concerned with the impact that tariffs on steel and aluminum would have on customers. More recently, ACCA shared our concerns with members of the House Ways & Means Committee, which agreed to host a hearing on April 12 on the effects of the tariffs on the economy and jobs, which we submitted formal comments to, where we once again underscored our belief that the tariffs are taxes, that can result professional U.S. businesses being less competitive and ...
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ACCA was working closely with the Conditioned Air Association of Georgia (CAAG) and ACCA’s Government Relations Chair, Martin Hoover (Empire Heating and Air, Greater Atlanta area) on legislation that would address business license/occupation taxes impacting HVAC contractors. H.R. 1258 would have commissioned a study on occupation taxes. Some ACCA Members report paying up to $40,000 in occupation taxes, while other professions pay $400. ACCA was fighting to help lower your occupation tax bill to a maximum of $400, and we sent out several action alerts enabling contractors to quickly and easily send alerts to their elected officials. Despite our efforts, the ...
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I had the recent pleasure of attending a commercial contractor MIX® Group meeting, hosted by Andrew Meadows of Pro Air Mechanical, Longwood, Florida. Many contractors think that ACCA is an association for residential contractors, but ACCA is home to some of the largest commercial contractors in the country. And, in 2016 our commercial contracting leaders formed a committee with a goal of ensuring ACCA provides resources specific to the needs of commercial contractors. Meeting with the “Baggers” MIX Group was a terrific opportunity because I was able to highlight the many things that ACCA has undertaken and accomplished for our commercial contractors (You’ll ...
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In March, I wrote about the San Joaquin Valley United Air Pollution Control District (District) proposal to increase fees on gas furnaces and single package gas/electric units that do not meet NOx emissions requirements that have been in place since 2009. You can read the blog here . Briefly, the District proposed raising the fees from between $225-$290 to ranges between $900-950. These fees are levied on furnaces that are unable to meet NOx emission requirements that are not removing the air equivalent of 2 grains of salt in a gallon of water. Read the blog to see the analysis I did on this, and use this analogy to explain to your customers what they are ...
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A brand-new measure had been introduced in the California Legislature which extends the statute of limitations for plaintiffs bringing harassment or discrimination claims from one year to three years for filing claims with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The proposed legislation is not limited to sexual harassment and includes all types of harassment and discrimination claims, and leaves wide open the door to a much broader liability period for employers. A secondary administrative burden is mandatory sexual harassment training within six months of an employee’s hire and once every two years, for employers with 50 or more workers.
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Last week I had the opportunity to represent ACCA at the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Presents: Workforce of Tomorrow Conference. This is the preeminent conference for leaders across multiple industries, from corporate CEOs to university presidents, and influential board chairs to top policymakers. The conference was focused on improving America's science, technology, engineering and math skills, and highlighting STEM issues on a national stage to advance the development of a STEM-focused workforce in the new-collar economy. This was the seventh annual conference, and took place in Washington, DC April 4-6. For more details and updates, please ...
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