The Obama administration is winning cheers from labor unions for proposals to increase spending and staffing at the Labor Dept. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the department will toughen enforcement of labor laws and is requesting funds in fiscal year 2010 to add 670 investigators, inspectors and other staff. Speaking on May 18 before a friendly audience at the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Dept. legislative conference, Solis said the administration believes the government has a fundamental responsibility to protect workers from unsafe workplaces and “unjust” labor practices. “You better believe there’s a new sheriff in town,” she said. Solis
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.