News briefs

August 11, 2010

BE&K wins costs for old labor fight. In a ruling that affects the rights of employers to file lawsuits against labor unions, the U.S. Supreme Court last month found that filing a reasonably-based but unsuccessful suit is not an "unfair labor practice" under the National Labor Relations Act. The ruling stemmed from an unsuccessful antitrust suit that Birmingham, Ala.-based BE&K and other industry firms had filed against the California Trades Council in the early 1990s, culminating in 1994. At that time, the National Labor Relations Board separately found BE&K had committed an unfair labor practice by filing a lawsuit and losing. The decision was upheld on appeal by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, but BE&K then appealed to the Supreme Court. And eight years after the fact, it has now won.

California dreamin' for design-build. On July 30, the Antioch Unified School District in Antioch, Calif., north of San Francisco, launched a new era in public school construction with the first state-wide award of a design-build contract under new enabling legislation passed last year in Sacramento. A joint venture of The Haskell Co., Jacksonville, Fla., and 3D/I, Houston, won the contract for the new 58,000-sq.-ft., K-5, Meadow Creek Elementary School, which will break ground next spring, to open in mid-2004. Haskell is a veteran of Florida's ongoing design-build school construction program.

Strapped SmithGroup wins bank job. Financially slowed in 2001 after a year of rapid growth, Detroit design giant SmithGroup received a boost this summer when it was selected by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to design and engineer a new $65-million bank branch in the Forest Park area of Detroit. Plans call for a 260,000-sq.-ft. facility, arranged in a campus-like complex with three major buildings. Construction is to begin in early 2003 with completion in 2005. The project will replace the current downtown facility, which was built in 1926.

Steelmakers report rare 2Q surge. Despite ongoing financial woes, both Bethlehem Steel Corp., Bethlehem, Pa., and U.S. Steel, Pittsburgh, last month reported unusually favorable second quarter (2Q) operating results (BD&C 3/02, p. 13). Mired in bankruptcy proceedings since last October, Bethlehem credited President Bush's controversial recent tariffs on imported steel with helping its bottom line. Though still in the red, the firm's $82-million 2Q net loss was a $38-million increase from the same period in 2001. For its part, U.S. Steel reported second quarter adjusted net income of $17 million, up from the previous year's adjusted net loss of $21 million. Hurdles aside, market prospects "remain positive," says Bethlehem Chairman Steve Miller.

         
 

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