ASA’s legislative and regulatory agenda focuses on those issues that specifically impact supply chain partners throughout the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Piping (PHCP) and Industrial Pipe, Valves and Fittings (PVF) industry.
ASA supports more investment in applied technology training to return craft education to our schools and to encourage the next generation to join our workforce. Statistics show that for every five plumbers that retire, only one is being replaced and, according to ASA’s 2015 Labor Study, 50,000 employees in the PHCP and PVF industries will have retired. There is a critical need to hire and train qualified replacements throughout the supply chain, which begins with returning craft training to our high schools. ASA supports legislation and regulatory policies that invest in the next generation of workers needed to meet the demands in all facets of the PHCP and PVF industries.
ASA supports the right of workers to choose whether or not to be represented by a labor organization though secret ballot. ASA also supports legislation and regulatory actions to: repeal the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule allowing hurried union elections (“Ambush Election” rule); end elections for “micro-unions;” and restore the historic joint-employer standard.
Workplace Health and Safety
ASA recognizes the importance of the health and safety of members’ employees and works to promote responsible workplace safety policies. ASA has participated in an alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and encourages the administration to allocate more resources to such cooperative efforts. ASA does not support regulations that impose undue burdens on employers such as OSHA’s electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses rule that includes an ill-conceived “whistleblower” provision and could allow sensitive information from companies’ recordkeeping logs to be posted on a publicly accessible website.
ASA supports highway safety, but not regulations that sweep construction deliveries into rules meant to cover long-haul carriers such as Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which regulate drivers’ hours on the road to 14 hours and don’t take into consideration breaks, weather, or other needs of construction-industry drivers where the clock should stop. Therefore, ASA opposes the congressionally mandated Electronic Logging Devices that have eliminated paper records for hours driven, but are not appropriate for construction-related driving and are a very expensive “tax” on the industry. However, ASA supports legislation (DRIVE Act) to allow employers to provide CDL holders below the age of 21 with an extensive apprenticeship program that will prepare them to be able to drive in interstate commerce.
Environment and Water Infrastructure
ASA supports and promotes policies which conserve our nation’s natural resources, protects our environment and advances the restoration of our nation’s water infrastructure. Therefore, ASA supports legislation to adequately finance America’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. According to the EPA, CBO, and the GAO, the projected shortfall in clean water infrastructure investment will approach $500 billion over the next two decades. ASA is a partner in EPA’s WaterSense® program, which is a voluntary public-private partnership program that seeks to promote water-efficient products through its partners. ASA supports legislation authorizing and fully funding WaterSense® and also supports legislation granting tax credits for use of WaterSense® products.
ASA members service the oil and gas markets who are paying an unfair price to subsidize the ethanol industry. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) should be updated to cap Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS). Also, as a key channel partner in the oil and gas industry, ASA supports limiting restrictions on hydraulic fracturing.
ASA fully supports policies that enable our members to operate productive, efficient businesses. Congress should keep the tax rates paid by individuals and corporations at similar, low levels. Also, encouraging manufacturers and small businesses to invest in capital improvements, equipment purchases, and to increase domestic production. ASA supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and encourages reasonable regulations from the IRS to implement its 20% deduction for pass-through businesses. These regulations should include service-industry business and bring their effective tax rate down to 29.6%. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, “About 30 million U.S. businesses, including many small “Mom and Pop” businesses are organized as pass-through entities.”
ASA supports full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) and replacing it with a market-based health insurance system. ASA supports repealing the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance (HIT) Tax, which is levied on participants in the fully-insured market where 87% of small businesses purchase their health insurance. With 95% of small business owners having seen their health plan premiums increase in recent years, ASA supports more competition and greater access for health benefits such as association health plans (AHPs), which would make health insurance more affordable by spreading risk among a much larger group. The plans would also ensure that small businesses would be able to continue to provide health insurance to their employees. Therefore, ASA supports the Dept. of Labor’s new regulations to broaden the definition of “employer’ to allow easier formation of AHPs and congressional proposals to make it easier to form AHPs across state lines.