Friday, December 12, 2014

NLRB Issues Final Rule on ‘Ambush’ Union Election Rules

The National Labor Relations Board has issued its final rulemaking that that would dramatically speed up union elections, reduce the time workers have to decide whether or not to join a labor union and force employers to hand over to union organizers their employees’ private information.

Under the rule, employers could have as little as 10 days to hire a lawyer and prepare for an election hearing, which would give unions a tremendous advantage in their efforts to organize employees. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on December 15, and will take effect on April 14, 2015.

NAHB strongly opposes this controversial “quickie election” rule and will continue to work with Congress to prevent it from going forward. Specifically, NAHB is concerned this rule will make it very difficult for employers to retain counsel and have sufficient time and opportunity to prepare for an election. House bills introduced in the 113th Congress (H.R. 4320 and H.R. 4321) would prevent the NLRB from accelerating the union representation election process.

In addition, NAHB is part of the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, which has announced that it will sue the NLRB to invalidate the newly released rule that would pave the way for unfair and illegal “ambush” elections.

NAHB Promotes Health Care Bill That Will Help Small Businesses

Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on NAHB’s behalf to reverse an IRS regulation preventing small businesses from providing employees with standalone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), which have been a popular benefit with HBA members.

Standalone HRAs are an employer-provided benefit that offers participants a spending account to reimburse them for qualified medical expenses.

However, in light of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition against health plans with an annual dollar limit on essential benefits, standalone HRAs have been deemed impermissible.

The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act of 2014 would restore these tax free employer-sponsored benefits that will help employees offset rising health care costs and pay for qualified medical expenses.

GBS Building Supply Is One of SC’s Fastest Growing Companies

GBS Building Supply has been chosen as one of South Carolina’s 25 Fastest Growing Companies. The winners were honored at a luncheon at the Columbia Marriott October 21.

GBS Building Supply is a full­ service lumberyard that also provides roofing, millwork, house wrap, cabinetry, installed stone, and other products needed for construction, including “green” building materials. While GBS Building Supply provides the highest quality products, the company prides itself on customer service, innovation, and a commitment to the community.

The SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies competition is presented by The Capital Corporation. Primary sponsors are Scott & Company CPAs, Wells Fargo, McNair Attorneys, Columbia Business Monthly, and Greenville Business Magazine.

Other sponsors are Clemson University’s Rutland Institute for Ethics; the George Dean Jonson, Jr., College of Business and Economics at the University of South Carolina Upstate, and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Representatives of Capital Corp., Scott & Company and other sponsors made on-site visits of nominees to interview key personnel and view company operations.

“We had a very strong field this year,” said George Moseley, principal of Capital Corporation.

“We were impressed with the energy and passion we saw on the site visits,” said Don Mobley, managing member of Scott and Company.

“We love the opportunity to recognize the growth of South Carolina’s companies,” said Lori Coon, publisher of Columbia Business Monthly and Greenville Business Magazine.

Once all the data is in hand, the selections are made. Winners are notified, but not given their ranking until the awards luncheon.

The keynote speaker of this year’s ceremony was Jack Jones, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina.

The SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies, in rank order are:

25: Infinity Marketing, Greenville
24: Integrated Systems, Inc., Darlington
23: EDTS, LLC, Greenville and Columbia
22: Avtec, Inc., Lexington
21: Chancel Builders, Inc., Conway
20: M33 Integrated Solutions, Greenville
19: eGroup, Mount Pleasant
18: GBS Building Supply, Greenville
17: Wireless Communications, Greenville
16: Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group, Inc., Florence
15: Duke Sandwich Productions, Easley
14: Dynamic Solutions, LLC, Greenville
13: Ob Hospitalist Group, Inc., Mauldin
12: O'Neal, Inc., Greenville
11: Immedion LLC, Greenville
10: Garden & Gun Magazine LLC, Charleston
9: Spartina 449, LLC., Daufuski
8: A3 Communications, Inc., Greenville
7: Unitrends, Columbia
6: MEDcare Urgent Care, LLC, Anderson
5: ISHPI, Mount Pleasant
4: Sandlapper Securities, LLC, Greenville
3: PureCars, Charleston
2: SolBright Renewable Energy, LLC, Charleston
1: Lima One Capital Management, Greenville

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Offer 3% Downpayment Programs

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced new low-downpayment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market.

In an official statement responding positively to the plan, NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly said:

“NAHB commends Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for instituting new loan guidelines that will allow creditworthy borrowers to obtain mortgages with a downpayment of 3 percent. One of the biggest obstacles to achieving homeownership is the ability to come up with a downpayment. By reducing upfront cash requirements while establishing tough but fair underwriting guidelines that include a number of safeguards, Fannie and Freddie will open the door to homeownership for more American families, particularly first-time home buyers and younger households.”

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt, whose agency regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said: “These underwriting guidelines provide a responsible approach to improving access to credit while ensuring safe and sound lending practices. To mitigate risk, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will use their automated underwriting systems, which include compensating factors to evaluate a borrower’s creditworthiness.”

Major media outlets reporting on the developments noted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s new programs to purchase mortgages with 3 percent downpayments would enable more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large downpayment to be able to obtain a home mortgage.

HBA Membership Provides Discounted Wireless Program

AT&T, Verizon, Spring, and T-Mobile Discounts Available

Your HBA is pleased to announce the launch of our newest member benefit program with eMemberBenefits. They provide discounted wireless service offerings from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. This unique program offers a wide range of benefits to members including: discounts averaging 35 percent for members, free mobile to any mobile calling, free mobile device management through an online portal, dedicated 24/7/365 help desk support and much more.*

Home builders today are relying on mobile technology for more than just phone calls. With the introduction of new technology, productivity has increased significantly. The eMemberBenefits wireless program for members helps to deliver solutions that are both powerful and simplified so that your enterprise gets the most from current available technologies at the very best prices.

Members will receive a no cost, no obligation detailed assessment of their existing wireless telecom expenses, and be provided with a free side-by-side comparison of discounts available for their existing service, along with comparable options from other carriers, often with even greater discounts. Once a member selects an option, they will receive comprehensive management of the implementation process, and a dedicated representative to act as the focal point for customer service and ongoing member support.

To learn more, please visit or call 866-430-NAHB (6242) to speak directly with a member benefit specialist.

* All carriers require a 5 line minimum for business accounts (all phones, tablets, mobile hot spots and other cellular internet connected devices count towards this minimum

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Housing Market Forecast Luncheon with HBA, GGAR and NMBA planned for 2015 Featuring Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist for NAHB

Want to start 2015 in the know and off right? Your HBA, SMC of the Upstate, Greater Greenville Association of Realtors (GGAR), and National Mortgage Bankers Association (NMBA) are working together to bring the best and most up to date economic information to you. Make plans to attend The Housing Market Forecast Luncheon at TD Convention Center on Tuesday, February 3rd, at 11:30 a.m. featuring Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist for NAHB.
David Crowe is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).   Dr. Crowe is responsible for NAHB’s forecast of housing and economic trends, survey research and analysis of the home building industry and consumer preferences as well as micro economic analysis of government policies that affect housing. 
Dr. Crowe is also responsible for the development and implementation of an innovative model of the local economic impact and fiscal cost of new home construction, which has estimated the net impact of new housing in over 500 local markets.  Past research has concentrated on home ownership trends, tax issues, demographics, government mortgage insurance, local land use ordinance impacts and the impacts of housing on local economies. 
Before becoming NAHB’s Chief Economist, Dr. Crowe was NAHB’s Senior Vice President for Regulatory and Housing Policy.  Prior to NAHB, Dr. Crowe was Deputy Director of the Division of Housing and Demographic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
He has served on federal advisory committees to the Census Bureau and to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
Dr. Crowe holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky.
During this meeting the HBA will host a table top forum for HBA members and prospective members during registration and immediately following the meeting.  HBA members are invited to participate in the table top forum and there are 10 spaces available. If you are interested in sponsoring a TableTop contact the HBA office at 864-254-0133.
 * If you would like to attend the Housing Market Forecast Luncheon please RSVP by January 26th by calling the HBA Office at 864-254-0133.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

45th Annual Bird Supper Announced: April 15, 2015

Mark your calendar now to attend the 45th Annual Bird Supper:
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2015
  • Seawells, Columbia, SC
Tickets are $35.  Members who donate to the PAC at the $250 level or above receive a complimentary ticket to the Bird Supper as well as an exclusive invitation to the Hammer and Trowel reception immediately preceding the Bird Supper.