Blocked! Texas Court Preliminary Halts Overtime Rules | Annapolis, MD

  In a dramatic last-minute development, a federal judge in Texas blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule  handing an 11th hour victory to employers across the country. As our members are well aware, back in May, 2016 the DOL unveiled a package of revised regulations changing the compensation requirements for employees who can be treated as exempt from overtime pay, upping the minimum salary from $455 to $913 per week, which annualizes to $47,476 (up from $23,000 per year), and this rate would be then subsequently raised again every three years with the first hike scheduled for January…
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Attorney General Obtains $1.7 Million Verdict Against HVAC Company | Carroll, MD

On August 7, 2018, in a case filed by the Colorado Attorney General against a Westminster-based, Colorado HVAC company, a district judge issued a permanent injunction against the company for violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. The Court’s order requires the defendants (the owner and manager of the company) to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties, $205,146 in consumer restitution, and to reimburse the state’s attorney’s fees and costs. The order also permanently enjoined the owner and manager from engaging in any activity related to the sale or installation of any type of HVAC equipment.The verdict follows a temporary…
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Addressing Workforce Constraints | Anne Arundel County, Maryland

    Recently, ACCA got two big steps forward in their work to address the workforce shortage that is facing our industry. 1) ACCA applauds President Trump’s leadership for signing the July 19th executive order that will develop a national strategy to expand job-training and apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers and give them the proper tools to succeed in the American workforce. The executive order President Trump signed establishes the National Council for the American Worker, which will develop a national strategy for training and retraining workers for high-demand industries. ACCA has been urging Congress and the Administration to…
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SCOTUS Strikes Down Compulsory Union Vote | Baltimore, MD

  AFSCME, relying on precedent set by the Court’s 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision, which found that a public-sector union may compel non-union members to pay agency or fair share fees, argued that Janus misconstrued the intent behind the First Amendment, as well as how the Supreme Court previously applied it, and the nature and idiosyncrasies of collective bargaining. AFSCME contended that collective bargaining primarily concerns terms and conditions of employment, are non-political in nature, and have nothing to do with lobbying. Despite the narrow decision by SCOTUS, this was not an entirely unexpected blow to public-sector…
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ACCA advances federal funding | Annapolis, MD

    As summer heats up and temps exceed 100 degrees many of your businesses are filling this workforce constraint more than ever.   While we have yet to discover the silver bullet to provide the much-needed workforce fix, we are pleased to share skilled workforce support took a major step forward last week when…Perkins CTE passed the Senate HELP Committee!!! BACKGROUND: Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act dictates how the federal government spends about $1 billion each year on career and technical education programs. If the reauthorization is passed, it would mark a major step toward the law’s first significant…
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Round Two of Tariffs Add to ACCA’s Concerns | Pikesville, MD

  Thursday May 31, the Trump Administration announced additional steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. This latest round of tariffs went into effect on June 1, 2018. The European Union has already announced it will launch legal proceedings against the United States with the World Trade Organization to challenge Trump’s actions. After the first round of tariffs went into effect in May, ACCA’s concerns over the increased costs of HVACR equipment caused by tariffs on steel and aluminum proved accurate. With equipment price increases into double digits, these tariffs are negatively impacting professional contractors and…
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Regulations and Fine Increases | Baltimore, MD

The stakes for failure to properly dispose of mercury thermostats just got quite a bit higher in the state of California. Doubling down on a law already in place on disposal and recycling mercury thermostats enacted over ten years ago, the legislature recently added language which now raises the maximum penalty for mishandling the hazardous waste from $25,000 to $70,000, and the fines can be assessed for each separate violation, for continuing violations, and for each day that the violation continues. This is nothing new for California residents and resident companies, who have long been on notice that recycling mercury…
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Steering Clear of Federal Telemarketing Fines Baltimore, MD

Steering Clear of Federal Telemarketing Fines Baltimore, MD Last week, an Arizona HVAC company was ordered to pay $340,000 in civil fines for making over 25,000 illegal telemarketing calls between 2011 and 2015. The company blatantly ignored the federal Do-Not-Call Registry (DNC) and even worse, lied to many of those called by claiming exemption from the federal regulation. (The HVAC company was not alone – an Arizona carpet cleaning company conducting the same telemarketing was fined $1 million in a consumer lawsuit around the same time.) Many years ago, ACCA published multiple guidelines to an assortment of federal rules passed…
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Tariff Preparation: What HVAC Products Are Caught Up In the Steel & Aluminum Tariffs? Annapolis, MD

Tariff Preparation: What HVAC Products Are Caught Up In the Steel & Aluminum Tariffs? Annapolis, MD On April 3, 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced a list of Chinese imports that would be subject to an additional 25 percent tariff. The following list highlights some of the HVAC products that are affected by the new tariffs. The full list can be found here. If you would like to learn more about the tariff’s and how ACCA is working to insulate our members from the impacts, you might want to check out the recent webinar “Navigating…
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Proposed Policy Changes for Energy Efficiency Requirements of Residential and Commercial HVAC Equipment Annapolis, MD

Here are some items that are topics of converstation in the HVAC world: Energy Bill & EPCA Reform Issue: The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), is the governing policy for energy efficiency of DOE residential covered products and commercial covered equipment; and gives DOE authority to regulate many of the HVACR Alliance members’ products. EPCA is over 40 years old and has not been updated since its initial enactment to reflect new technologies and economic realities. EPCA has produced an endless cycle of efficiency rulemakings that adversely impacts our industry’s competitiveness, consumers’ choices and installed costs. The Act overlooks effects…
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