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On April 9, 2019, the New York City Council passed a first-of-its-kind bill that prohibits pre-employment drug testing for the presence of marijuana (or tetrahydrocannabinols, commonly known as THC). The law is expected to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and will take effect one year later. Importantly, the law would not prohibit employer drug-testing programs that test existing employees for marijuana.   There are a number of safety-sensitive exclusions, including:   Police officers or peace officers, or other jobs with law enforcement or investigative functions at the department of investigation; Positions requiring compliance with Section 3321 ...
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A member asked us: What is the law regarding overtime wages when performance pay, a commission, and/or bonus are paid? For example, if a tech earns purely flat-rate performance pay and works 42 hours, is the tech paid the pre-agreed upon flat-rate performance pay? What if the tech earns an hourly wage and also a commission on items sold and/or a commission on tasks completed? If the tech works more than 40 hours, is the commission added to the hourly wage for the week, then divided by the hours worked to calculate the wage for that week, and paid 40 hours at that new rate and 1.5X the new rate on overtime hours? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and ...
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FieldEdge, a leading provider of field service software, joined ACCA as a Corporate Partner because they are looking for more ways to support contractors. As partners, ACCA was glad to host the team from FieldEdge, including Kirby Oscar, senior manager of business development, and Marc Werthmoeller, vice president of marketing and operations, at ACCA’s headquarters in Arlington, VA. FieldEdge is interested in being the strongest partner possible with ACCA members, and one of their focus areas is government relations activities – ACCA’s specialty! ACCA staff – myself and Alyx Simon – took Marc and Kirby to Capitol Hill for the morning and visited with two ...
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Battling White Slime

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Did you know 325 million bacteria call one ounce of condensate slime home? The war with slime is as old as ice box drains, and the drains on the ice delivery trucks. Wherever there are nice wet and cool environments and bacteria you may find slime growth. When it is in HVAC equipment evaporator sections there are many cleaners that can be used. However, when it is in refrigerators or ice makers, a food grade/safe cleaner must be used. There are food grade chemical cleaners available, as well as old home remedies. For example, in commercial ice machines acidic mixtures like grapefruit juice or vinegar are often used to clean out the pumping and drainage systems ...
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ACCA has been bringing you updates on the future of refrigerants as many states contemplate a transition from the high global warming R410A toward flammable (ASHRAE Standard 34 designated A2L and A3 refrigerants) refrigerants. We have continuously raised concerns that this transition is happening too quickly in states like California and that a more thoughtful approach needs to be taken. The firefighters of America have begun to raise similar safety concerns about flammable refrigerants. The firefighter’s associations of California and Illinois have issued letters expressing concerns about the safety of the public, firefighters responding to a scene, and HVACR ...
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A member asked us:   We have a service technician who is one of the highest paid employees in the company. He previously was in a car wreck in his personal vehicle that broke his neck a couple of years ago. Since his return to work he has been unable to perform many of the tasks that are required for someone in his position and seems to think we should pay another employee to ride around with him to be his "helper" to do the lifting overhead work etc. Recently he was riding in a vehicle that an 18- wheeler tire blew out and hit the windshield which according to him created a whiplash effect to his neck. He called the owner that Sunday to tell him he would ...
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2019 Tax Deadline

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The 2019 tax deadline is April 15 (unless you live in Maine or Massachusetts, where it’s April 17). Filing after the deadline can cost you. The IRS can assess a failure-to-pay penalty worth up to 25% of your unpaid tax. And if your return is more than 60 days late, the IRS assesses a minimum tax penalty of $210 or 100% of the tax you owe, whichever amount is less. But there are six more tax moves you must — or should — make by the tax deadline. For more information: www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/april-deadline-taxes/
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Question:     Our company is a non-union shop. I have heard horror stories from other companies that were non-union shops that were targeted by union organizers. Is there a real risk in the (XXXXX, STATE) area for this type of attempted takeover activity and what can we do to protect ourselves from it. We have been receiving applications from tradespeople with union backgrounds and this is a concern. What can we do legally when someone with a union background applies for a position with our company?   Answer:       First, ACCA has to put out the disclaimer that our association is completely neutral when it comes to union and non-union matters. We simply ...
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HVAC and refrigeration systems are the largest consumers of energy in the U.S., accounting for nearly 50 percent of all energy consumption. Environmental groups and many legislators believe that the federal government should mandate more efficient HVAC systems and increase cuts to the energy industry. The energy industry will continue to land in the eye if scrutiny especially as we roll into a presidential election year. The International Energy Agency released a recent study on CO2 emissions as it relates to energy consumption across the world. Despite the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions, the energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have climbed for the ...
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What is the Green New Deal? The Green New Deal has received a lot of attention in the last few months and you may be confused about what exactly it is and what it means for contractors. First off, the Green New Deal is a house resolution not a bill. If the house chose to adopt the resolution it would be saying “we will work towards these goals” not enact exactly what’s in the resolution. The Green New Deal includes broad ideas more than specific policy details. The absence of details, the missing middle of the resolution, make it difficult to know exactly how the Green New Deal will operate but also shows a lack of forethought from congressional democrats. ...
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Website signaling plays a significant role in promoting positive signals and establishing optimistic antecedents. According to the signaling theory, this offers a framework that explains how signals are used by one party to eliminate any hidden or limited quality information to another party to facilitate a purchase or exchange. There are two signaling approaches: external and internal signaling where the external signaling is the use of identifiers such as third-party logos that assures the consumer of the legitimacy of the business website. For instance, companies like VeriSign or Paypal give a signal of trustworthiness and assurance, as will the ACCA member ...
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Go ahead and groan…not another social media site that marketing gurus say you need to be a part of to succeed. OK, now stop groaning. There are legitimate reasons why you need to be using Instagram and it isn’t going to take much time for you to integrate it into your already robust social media plan. Instagram is a free, online photo-sharing app and social network platform owned by social media giant, Facebook. Instagram allows users to edit and upload photos and short videos through the app. Pretty simple right? So, why do you need it? Well here are seven reasons that if you aren’t using Instagram you are going to get left in other company’s social media ...
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ACCA, as part of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Jobs and Investment, submitted a Congressional statement pressing the House Ways and Means Committee to pass tax extenders as quickly as possible. The tax extenders expired in December of 2017 and have yet to be renewed by Congress. This includes Section 179D, a tax extender that allows for tax deductions for energy efficient commercial buildings. The statement was originally sent to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Richard Neal, and Rep. Kevin Brandy but has now also been extended to Rep. Mike Thompson and Rep. Adrian Smith. The two Representatives were added to the letter after they hosted a ...
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Effective immediately, an amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), signed into law on March 18, 2019, invalidates any provision of an employment agreement which “waives any substantive or procedural right or remedy” under the State’s broad anti-discriminatory laws. The amendment also prohibits confidentiality and non-disclosure provisions in any employment contract or settlement agreement. The amendment states that such agreements are against public policy. Shockingly, a California measure similar to the New Jersey amendment was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown last year because he deemed such a statute contrary to employee jury waivers and ...
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The City of Cincinnati has become the latest jurisdiction to adopt an ordinance prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history or current earnings. It is the latest large jurisdiction to pass such a measure. The new law, adopted on March 13, 2019, makes it an illegal discriminatory practice for a company within the city to ask job applicants about their past or current salary; screen applicants based on wages or benefits; rely on salary history in hiring decisions or in determining compensation; or refuse to hire or otherwise retaliate against an applicant who refuses to provide her or his salary history. The law goes into effect in ...
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After a successful two years for the HVAC industry under the 115 th Congress , ACCA is thrilled to announce our top priorities for the 116 th Congress ! During ACCA’s 2019 Annual Conference and Expo in San Antonio, ACCA contractor members attended a Townhall meeting where Todd Washam,Director of Industry Relations of ACCA, presented our drafted priorities for the 116 th Congress. We use these priorities when meeting with members of Congress to work as a tool to express member interests. Contractor members were then able to vote via the ACCA app on how important they felt the priority was to their business. Based on these responses ACCA was ...
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Massachusetts and New Jersey are the latest states to take legislative action with regard to employers’ paid leave laws.   In January, Massachusetts issued draft regulations to its Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (MA PFMLP), a leave act that was signed into law in June 2018, and becomes effective in 2021.   Under the MA PFMLP, almost all employees will be entitled to family and medical leave. The benefits will be financed by employer and employee contributions and will allow up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and 20 weeks of paid medical leave in a benefit year.   Employers will be required to submit a quarterly filing through the Mass TaxConnect ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published new overtime rules – again. This go-round sees much more modest increases to overtime regulations than those proposed under then-President Obama. If finalized, the proposed regulations will set a salary threshold for the white-collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at $36,308 a year ($679 weekly.)   Currently, the proposed rule is undergoing a notice and comment period. The DOL predicts the new rule will become effective in January 2020.   So, while our members have time to plan, here are the key points to remember from the new rule:   The minimum salary threshold for all white-collar ...
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It’s with great pleasure that I step into the role as ACCA’s new president and CEO and I’m proud to say your ACCA staff has hit the ground running on a number of new initiatives. One, in particular, I know is a priority for the ACCA Board of Directors and members at large: collaboration with ACCA’s former chapters. The current status of several former ACCA chapters is fairly strong, with ACCA recognizing several of them as Affiliated Contracting Organizations (ACO). The relationships with the ACOs is based on open lines of communication, joint marketing campaigns, and making use of ACCA’s government relations and advocacy resources. The advocacy portion of ...
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On Tuesday, the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing entitled “ Temporary Policy in the Internal Revenue Code .”  The hearing touched on a number of temporary tax policies, largely focused on three buckets – tax extenders, disaster tax relief and temporary provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  It was largely a messaging hearing, with members expressing their support/opposition to various temporary tax provisions and a number weighing in on the success/failure of the TCJA.  Following the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA) said he wanted Congress to move quickly on extenders, though noting ...
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