We Kept Construction Working
With support from the Construction Advocacy Fund, AGC of America made sure construction work was classified as essential in most parts of the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite early calls to halt most forms of construction, AGC was able to push back by successfully making the case the industry has a proven track record of complying with complex safety rules; most construction happens outdoors with good air circulation; and the industry was accustomed to wearing personal protection equipment like masks.
Getting the Feds to Label Construction as Essential
AGC worked with officials at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to ensure that construction was included in its guidance to states of which industries should be considered essential during the pandemic. One reason for that is AGC members sent over 50,000 letters to the agency urging them to keep construction essential. The association later worked with the agency to expand its definition of construction to include suppliers and equipment manufacturers.
Educating the Media about How Construction is Safe and Essential
AGC of America, working with its chapters, organized a nationwide media education campaign designed to explain to reporters, and through them the public and government officials, why construction could continue to operate in a way that protected workers and the public. This effort included stories on NBC News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.
Working with Chapters to Get Governors and Mayors to Declare Construction Essential
The association also worked with its chapters to provide resources, talking points and support as they worked to ensure state and local officials included construction in their list of essential parts of the economy. Construction was one of the few industries allowed to continue operating in much of the country.
We Kept Construction Afloat
Aided by the Construction Advocacy Fund, AGC of America not only kept construction working during the pandemic, it also worked to secure vital federal support to keep construction firms afloat and payrolls intact. And it helped push back against a series of regulatory and bureaucratic measures that, if enacted as originally proposed, would have been costly and counterproductive. The association helped shape the federal Paycheck Protection Program to make sure as many construction firms could qualify for its loans, and then worked to improve the program so it could protect as many jobs as possible. This included working with federal officials to expand eligibility for the program, correcting efforts that frustrated firms and discouraged them from using the loans, and securing legislative improvements to the program, including a more realistic use and repayment timeline and allowing loan recipients to defer payroll taxes through the end of 2020.
AGC also made sure several tax provisions were included in the primary coronavirus relief measure, the CARES Act. Among the most significant of these was a provision to allow firms to carryback net operating losses for up to five years. It later, successfully, fought off efforts to undo this important, and
tested, relief measure. In addition, AGC lobbied for fixing the so-called “retail glitch” from the 2017 tax reform law that unintentionally increased the cost of many construction projects, such as improvements for restaurants, retails establishments and offices.
Meanwhile, the association worked to protect construction firms from costly and counterproductive measures. This included pushing back against an OSHA proposal to categorize coronavirus cases as reportable incidents. And AGC has worked with chapters to, in most cases, beat back efforts to have coronavirus cases impact firms’ Workers Compensation performance.
We Kept Construction Safe
AGC of America, with help from the Construction Advocacy Fund, made sure construction firms had access to the resources, information, and even, at times, the equipment needed, to make sure the industry could protect workers, and the public, from the coronavirus. Measures taken included:
- Urging construction executives across the country to make sure that every person on every project was following coronavirus safety protocols.
- Preparing a special coronavirus website with the latest information, resources and tips for surviving the pandemic and its economic fallout.
- Organizing a recurring series of webinars by assembling experts to provide members with up-to-date guidance on how to react to the coronavirus.
- Providing quick video updates from AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr and chief economist Ken Simonson on key issues.
- Releasing regular AGC Coronavirus Survey results so members could have access to the latest assessment of how the pandemic was impacting the industry.
- Sharing AGC ConstructorCast Special Coronavirus Reports so members could receive updates on the federal response to the coronavirus.
- Creating a digital advertising campaign called WorkingSafe.AGC.Org designed to educate public and government officials about how firms were protecting their workers and communities from the coronavirus.
- Organizing the first nationwide coronavirus safety stand down.
We Will Keep Construction Busy
The Construction Advocacy Fund and AGC of America will make sure the construction industry plays a key role in rebuilding the American economy. To that end, we are fighting for the kind of infrastructure investments, liability protections and pro-growth economic policies that will restore the nation’s economic vitality and allow our members to thrive.
Financed by the Fund, AGC has created two digital advocacy campaigns to pressure key congressional leaders to pass new infrastructure investments, encouraged nearly 10,000 members to send almost 40,000 messages to members of Congress in support of this effort, organized two nationwide media events and more. AGC will continue to provide resources to chapters, including a new tool to calculate the economic benefits of infrastructure investments, so they can successfully advocate for new state and local infrastructure investments.
With our country, slowly and fitfully, reopening, we need even more engagement to make sure our industry can rebuild our ailing economy. Now is not the time to let up. We need to make sure this industry can rebuild our economy. And to do that, we need you to stay active, stay involved and stay engaged.