The Easiest New Year’s Resolution You Could Ever Make!
By Stephen Borg
It is the week before Thanksgiving as I sit down to write this article and while I dream of turkey, stuffing, and time with family, I also can’t help but begin to dread the end of the year and the quickly approaching need to settle on my New Year’s resolutions. Well, don’t fret! I have the perfect resolution for all of us…we will all register for the 2020 MCAA Legislative Conference!
By now hopefully, those of you who have joined the Mason Contractors Association of America’s Legislative Conference in years past have already circled the week of May 11th, 2020 on your calendars, but I want to make sure that those new members we have been welcoming to the Association and those many new faces we saw at the Midyear Meeting New Hampshire circle that week as well.
You see, while Washington, D.C. continues to be consumed with the House of Representative’s current impeachment inquiry hearings and the Democrats continue to try to whittle down their field of Presidential candidates, the House of Representatives and Senate are continuing to work on important issues and both sides are formulating their agendas for 2021 when a new Congress will be seated and a President will be sworn in. It is imperative that we continue to raise our voice as a collective, remembering that if we are not heard in Washington, D.C. walking the halls of Congress telling OUR story, someone else will be doing it for us. So, take the time to make the easiest New Year’s resolution you could ever hope to keep and meet us out in Washington, D.C. for the annual MCAA Legislative Conference the week of May 11th.
As in years past, our time together will include a fun and informative special masonry tour of a local Washington, D.C. landmark, great networking dinners and breakfasts, fundraisers with your local Members of Congress, and the all-important day and a half of meeting with Representatives and Senators from your home state.
While we continue to constantly remind Members of Congress of the importance of continued commitment to workforce development and the need for a guest-worker program for the construction industry, I envision these to continue to be our top priorities for the upcoming year. During all of my communications with MCAA leadership and rank and file members during MCAA events or conference calls, these continue to be key issues. I constantly hear, “If I could find the workers, I could double the size of my business tomorrow.” And “I am turning down great projects due to a lack of workforce”. As a result, H.R. 1740, the Workforce for An Expanding Economy Act, introduced by Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), and Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), will remain our top legislative priority for 2020.
To address workforce shortages, the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act will create a market-driven immigration visa program targeted to workers in occupations that do not require a college degree, otherwise defined as “less-skilled,” to do year-round, non-farm work. The bill creates a two-track system in which employers and potential immigrant laborers are both required to receive a permit to work in the U.S. The bill will require an employer to apply to the federal government for an approval to hire an H-2D worker and does not allow a worker to enter the U.S. until they have been affirmatively hired by an employer who has received approval from the government to hire for that position. These employees are only ever allowed to work for an approved employer, at the approved location, in the specific job that was approved, and all employers will be required to use E-Verify.
While this will be our top priority, our Legislative Committee is constantly keeping a pulse on other issues that are affecting the industry so if you have thoughts or needs, please take the time to let the Committee know of those issues impacting your business and we might just include them in our list of legislative priorities. While Congress is currently embroiled in the impeachment inquiry, there are many members on both sides of the aisle that are eager to get to work on solving many of the issues impacting their constituents and businesses back home and desire to hear from you.
We have spent years building up many deep, trusting relationships with Members of Congress on behalf of the Mason Contractors Association of America that has gone a long way towards moving our priorities forward, but as I constantly try to remind you, we are only as strong as our COLLECTIVE voice and we need as many MCAA members as possible building these relationships and telling our story. So do yourself, and our industry, a favor and take the time to actually complete one of your New Year’s Resolutions and join us the week of May 11th in Washington, D.C.
About the Author
Stephen Borg is Vice President of The Keelen Group.