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Judges show humor in fitting response to Laborers’ hot air

“Scabby” the inflatable rat has always seemed more impactful than a group of grizzled, union rank & file picketing a construction site where non-union peers are executing contracts at more competitive rates. Unions dispatch the rentable balloons—portable, inflatable in minutes or less, and commanding a footprint no larger than a pickup truck or SUV—as an effective means of expressing grievances against merit shop contractors.

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False Claims Act meets air entrainment

A case involving alleged False Claims Act violations and Pennsylvania precaster Universal Concrete Products Corp. is drawing to a close in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria. It unfolded over three years from claims of an ex-quality control technician-turned-whistleblower who is now on track to share in “recoveries” from his former employer and colleagues.

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Plants of the Future

This month’s cover report tours the National Ready Mixed Concrete Co. (National Ready Mix) Vernon plant, near downtown Los Angeles, similar to the December issue profile of Superior Concrete Materials’ Washington, D.C. site (“Capital Investment,” page 40). Both operations will be spotlighted in Las Vegas during a first of its kind World of Concrete 2019 session.

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Honoring contractors’ competitive drive

Job seekers were flooded with positive labor market signals in 2018, wage spikes, widespread openings, workforce development initiatives, and employer training commitments from President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers among them. The Associated General Contractors of America and Associated Builders & Contractors peg construction labor pool growth at more than 4 percent last year. Challenges members of both groups continually cite in finding qualified workers suggest another construction season friendly to tradesmen who want hours and know a good time for wage premiums when they see it.

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Market needs, processing innovations perpetuate fly ash recycling success

Cement and concrete contribute to an impressive recycling story detailed in the American Coal Ash Association’s Production and Use Survey released last month. It indicates that 64 percent, or 71.8 million tons, of the coal combustion product (CCP) volume generated during 2017 was recycled. That represents a new record rate and marks the third consecutive year where more than half of CCP tracked in the United States was beneficially used. Concrete, cementitious material and cement producers using fly ash or lesser residuals accounted for nearly 33 percent, or 23.5 million tons, of last year’s recycled CCP volume.

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