Recently, as part of the effort to address COVID-19, OSHA issued guidance on proper ventilation in the workplace to help maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
Under the guidance, OSHA recommends employers work with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals to consider possible ways to improve building ventilation so as to limit the possibility of exposure.
As we are all aware, enclosed spaces with poor ventilation and air flow can make it more likely for potential infection. Studies have also shown that contagious aerosol droplets can travel further and linger longer in poorly ventilated areas.
The OSHA Guidance is below. We recommend our members provide it to any service or maintenance clients as well as ensuring your own offices are up to date with the recommendations.
Wayne Greenwood, a new member of the Board of Directors for SMACNA National and member of SMACNA Boston was recently interviewed about his company JEC Service Co. and their focus on customer service and technology. Take a look!
J.C. Cannistraro LLC. was recently named the first-ever ENR New England Specialty Contractor of the Year. Cannistraro is one of the region’s largest MEP/HVAC and fire protection specialty contractors. The firm ranked No. 2 on the 2017 ENR New England Top Specialty Contractor. In 2017, Cannistraro was also the No. 86-ranked firm on ENR’s Top 600 Specialty Contractor ranking.
Headquartered in Watertown, MA the firm recently signed a 50-year ground lease in Boston’s Seaport District to consolidate its prefabrication and assembly plants. The firm has 800 employees, including 200 in the office and 600 in the field.
The Massachusetts Operational Service Division (OSD) has asked SMACNA again to promote the 3 Tradespersons Statewide Contracts. They want to identify union contractors available to bid on some small to mid-size state contracts for trade services required by state facilities.
Interested in this opportunity? If you are, please read over the flyer below!
As you may know, each month brings new opportunities to apply for apprenticeships with different union building trades. Each of the 12 trades has its own timeline and procedure for apprenticeship applications.
The following trade(s) will be accepting applications for apprenticeship training:
WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY
*****Please be sure to call the union to confirm these details! ******
Roofers & Waterproofers Union Local 33
When: Every Mon., Tues., and Wed., 9am – 11am
Phone: (781) 341-9192
Local 33: Willie Hernandez
53 Evans Dr.
Stoughton, MA 02072
Must be physically capable of performing work of the trade
Pre-hire physical and drug screen
Must reside within the jurisdictional area
Millwrights Local 1121
When: Monthly – Applications are accepted the 2nd & 3rd Wednesday of each month at 9:30am
Phone: (617) 254- 0042
Address: 90 Braintree St. Allston, MA
Must have a valid Driver’s license
Must be 18 or older
Must have copy of HS Diploma or GED
Must have copy of HS/College transcript
In addition, Suffolk Construction and Wynn Casino are looking for active union members. They can submit an application for employment at the link below.
If you know of someone already in the union, please have them go to our website at www.surveymonkey.com/r/3WJRY66 to submit an application. We will notify unions and subcontractors of their availability. Help spread the word!
When a Contributing Employer prepares financial statements, it may be required to include information on its participation in the National Pension Fund. The information sheet below may assist in this process.
Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 and SMACNA Boston are working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Boston Fire Department, the Inspectional Services Division (ISD) and the State Fire Marshall’s office to help certify all workers affiliated in the Sheet Metal Industry in the new required “Hot Works Certification” training.
Massachusetts put new energy codes into effect on August 12, 2016 which are mandatory January 1, 2017. In 2017, all building permits and formal documents must comply with the new energy codes.
The new energy code is based on the 2015 International Energy Code Council (IECC). The stretch code is also being updated and is broken into three types:
R-use buildings 4 stories or fewer shall comply with an approved energy rating index, such as:
Use of Energy Star Homes 3.1 Path; Passive House Institute US Approved software; Other BBRS approved Software or rating standard (RESNET approach
Large buildings and high energy buildings must better ASHRAE 90.1 by 10%
There is no standard energy code nationwide, so states use a various codes depending on their local regulations. With this change, Massachusetts will join other states like Vermont and Washington who are notably efficient under the 2015 codes, while California and Florida continue using 2012 codes.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has proposed new rules to govern the merger of troubled multi-employer pension plans. The PBGC has authority under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA),
to support mergers if it benefits the failing plan without harming the stronger plan. In addition, PBGC can provide funding to promote a merger if it is needed to help plans avoid insolvency. Mergers help reduce administrative costs and increase pension security.
The MPRA was an attempt by Congress to provide PBGC better tools to deal with the growing issue of pension insolvency. The proposed rule is a logical interpretation of the MPRA giving reasonable options to troubled multiemployer pension plans.
The proposed rule provides guidance for requesting help in a merger. PBGC can provide financial assistance, technical assistance, and mediation. Also, the rule provides an informal avenue for multiemployer plan sponsors to explore merger discussions with the PBGC before filing a formal request. Finally, the proposed rule allows plan sponsors to apply for both benefit suspensions under the MPRA and a merger under the statute. The PBGC realizes that pension insolvency is not a zero-sum endeavor stating, “some plans may need both benefit suspensions and a financial assistance merger to become or remain solvent.”
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on June 6. The deadline for submitting comments is Aug. 5.
Although the proposed rule is a commonsense step to facilitate pension mergers, many are still in precarious positions. The most prominent in the Central States fund whose emergency rescue plan was denied by the Department of the Treasury on May 6, 2016.
The Treasury Department found several issues with the methods Central States used in notifications to participants and in their proposal to cut benefits and reestablish financial stability. Central States has announced that it will run out of money by 2025. As of the end of last year, the fund showed $16.8 billion in assets and $35 billion in retiree obligations. This is a 48% funding ratio. That’s bad news because the average funding ratio for PBGC multiemployer plans in the construction industry was 44%.
Most experts believe that government action is the only way Central States will avoid bankruptcy. However, given the national political scene this is unlikely, instead they are getting creative to cover the costs. For example, many employers have been exiting the plan due to its predicament. Central States has increase the amount collected in withdrawal liability, the fee an employer pays to exit the plan. Also Central States offers a Hybrid method where employers pay the withdrawal fee and remain in the plan, but are free from incurring any additional liability.