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Finishing Industries Gather for Fourth Forum

Post Time:Nov 13,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:482

Members of the Painters and Allied Trades Labor Management Cooperation Initiative (LMCI), the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and the Finishing Contractors Association (FCA) have come in force to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas for the Fourth Annual Finishing Industries Forum being held November 10-13. More than 500 contractors are here looking for information on dealing with such challenges as retaining employees and finding work during a time when commercial construction jobs are slow.

The fourth annual Finishing Industry Forum kicked off with an opening session Tuesday morning. 

As Ed Zaucha, chief executive officer of APG International and co-chair of LMCI, commented during Tuesday's opening session, "2008, as we all know, has been a remarkable year [but] we are facing dramatic changes."

Although Zaucha noted that APG is but one of many companies seeing work slow or cease on commercial construction projects around the country, including here in Las Vegas, he focused on an even bigger concern related to the current economy. Going forward, he said, "My big concern for our organization and our industry ... is how we are going to retain the workers we've spent millions of dollars training."

Finding and keeping qualified labor has long been a problem in the glazing industry, and as Zaucha pointed out, the level of unemployment this year for the construction industry is 10.7 percent, "far in excess of our national unemployment rate ... [and] anticipated to increase more than 20 percent next year."

These issues, of course, are not unique to the glazing or construction industries, as touched on by keynote speaker Richard Teerlink, the retired chairman of Harley-Davidson who was responsible for turning the failing company around in the 1980s. His talk, titled "Change Spurs Reinvention," demonstrated that these problems can happen in any industry and in any economy and can be overcome by knowing one's business and one's customers-and counting on the value of one's employees. As Teerlink commented, a company's only "sustainable competitive advantage is the people who walk through the door."

Employment topics were visited in a different way during an afternoon session on immigration and access control and the building trades. Andrew Siff, a managing partner of Siff & Lake, talked about some of the recent developments in immigration law and regulation. In particular, he explained where the E-Verify and No-Match programs originated from and how they are becoming mandatory for contractors doing federal work-or contractors holding a business license, in the extreme case of a recent ruling by Arizona courts.

"The biggest point I want you to remember is this thing is becoming mandatory," Siff said.

The Finishing Industries Forum continues through tomorrow.

Source: usgnn.comAuthor: shangyi

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