Email American Loggers Council
 

ALC Executive Vice President
Daniel J. Dructor
Email Daniel

 

P.O. Box 966
Hemphill, TX 75948
T: 409.625.0206
F: 409.625.0207



$5000 Truck Rebate: 2018 Western Star Association Rebate for ALC Members and Affiliates

alc_ws

Western Star is proud to support and extend the Association Rebate Program for members of the American Loggers Council and its affiliates.

American Loggers Council (ALC) members and affiliates are eligible for a $5000.00 rebate on the purchase of a brand new WS 4900 truck or tractor model.

Click here to find your nearest Western Star Trucks dealer.

Members can now enjoy the power and versatility of a Western Star truck, the leading brand in the logging industry, which have been manufactured for higher payloads, better maneuverability, serviceability, and equally important, durability and dependability.

WS-imageRebate amount is based on truck model and configuration:
– $5,000 off for 4900 Sleeper
– $5,000 off for 4900 Daycab

Requirements:
– Verification of membership status or status or affiliation with ALC.
– Association membership must be valid for at least 90 days prior to taking retail delivery.
– Trucks must be new and never been retail sold regardless of model year or mileage.
– Maximum of five (5) trucks per customer/company in a calendar year.
– Rebate claim must be processed within 30 days of retail sale date.
– Not valid for gliders or used units.

Click here for ALC member and dealer instructions.

Peterbilt: $2,000 CASH rebate to American Loggers Council members

Peterbilt is pleased to offer the American Loggers Council (ALC) the following rebate incentive:

 

Program Details:
• Members receive a $2,000 CASH rebate on Models 567, 367, or 365.
• Limited to three (3) rebates per member for calendar year 2018.
• ALC members must be in good standing for at least 90 days prior to taking retail delivery.
• ALC members must take retail delivery between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Retail delivery is defined as the time the ownership of the truck is transferred from the Peterbilt dealer to the customer.

 

Other Details:
• Request for customer rebate incentives must be received by ALC within 90 days of taking retail delivery.
• Allow 6 to 8 weeks for check to process.
• This program may not be combined with any other rebate offers from Peterbilt.

 

For information on ALC memberships, contact Danny Dructor at 409-625-0206 or Americanlogger@aol.com.

New John Deere L-Series II Skidders and Wheeled Feller Bunchers Provide Simplified, Reliable Machines for Loggers

Continuously evolving to better its machines and exceed customer expectations, John Deere is excited to introduce the new L-Series II Skidders and Wheeled Feller Bunchers. The new L-Series II machines feature a simplified design, providing a reliable, powerful solution, while still maintaining the productivity-boosting features of the original line, including an increase in hydraulic speed, large grapples and an improvement in weight distribution.

 

“With the new L-Series II machines, we wanted to build upon the best features of the original machines, while also simplifying the design to increase reliability,” said Brandon O’Neal, product marketing manager, John Deere Construction and Forestry. “Listening to our customers, we reworked the machines, making significant improvements under the hood. The new L-Series II machines offer decreased downtime without any changes to power and productivity.”

 

The new, simpler L-Series II models enhance customer experience by reducing maintenance and increasing uptime due to a number of part changes. Other changes to the machines include a reduction to the complexities of the electrical and hydraulic systems and improvements to component placements. ”They [John Deere] rerouted it so the wires wouldn’t be so bunched up in the machine,” noted Wayne Sugg of Sugg Logging, who was one of the first loggers to test the new machines. “Since we’ve had the L-Series II we’ve put 300 hours on it and haven’t had any downtime whatsoever. Uptime is important, because if the wood’s not going out getting on the trucks I’m not making any money.”

 

The L-Series II machines also include changes to boost productivity. The new skidder models offer increased grapple squeeze force of up to 10 percent. Articulation steering sensors improve the operator experience, ultimately increasing productivity. A new two-speed 4000 winch replaces the previous single-speed winch. “The machine is better, stronger and faster than the original. These machines – on a daily basis – they just they take a beating. The more you beef it up, the stronger it’s going to be, and the better it’ll be for us.” said Zane Winfield of Southern Logging, who also got a chance to experience the new machines.

 

In addition to the new changes, the L-Series II Skidders and Wheeled Feller Bunchers retain the productivity-boosting features that loggers loved in the original models. From a comfortable operator station to durable axles and rugged, large grapples, the L-Series II models offer loggers the features they need to tackle tough jobs. “We’ve spent countless hours collecting customer feedback to ensure our new machines met their needs, understanding the demands they face daily,” said O’Neal.

 

The cabs on all skidders and wheeled feller bunchers are equipped with features designed to maximize comfort, ultimately increasing productivity. Amenities like the efficient HVAC system, improved ergonomic controls and storage space offer the creature comforts loggers desire. Joystick steering and an optional rotating seat reduces strain on the operator’s body.

 

The L-Series II Skidder models feature the powerful Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which combines the smoothness of a hydrostatic transmission with the fuel efficiency of a lockup torque converter. This combination enables the skidders to boast excellent fuel efficiency, longer engine life and enhanced operator comfort.

 

Offering a one-button Quick Dump feature, the wheeled feller bunchers improves efficiency with the push of one button to release trees in a single, smooth motion. Additionally, the head-tilt and arm functions are combined to help minimize fatigue while improving productivity.

 

Another industry-changing feature on our skidders that carried over from the previous models are the durable axles – particularly the Outboard-Extreme™ axles. The models feature a pressurized continuous-lube system and independent axle filters that extend wear life. The rugged Outboard-Extreme axles – standard on the 848 and 948 models, and optional on the 748 machines – feature larger components, delivering maximum jobsite durability and a heavier weight for boosted machine stability.

Register Your Comment on Revising Current Hours-of-Service Regulations for Interstate Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering how to proceed with possible hours of service reforms for interstate truck drivers. FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez recently announced administrative rulemaking for potential changes, but has stated the agency will only move on reforms if it receives the feedback and data necessary to do so.  You can submit a comment by clicking here.

 

There are three areas FMCSA hopes to see feedback around: (1) Extending drivers’ daily 14-hour clock by two hours should adverse conditions arise; (2) adding split sleeper berth flexibility to hours regs, (3) nixing the 30-minute break requirement and allowing short-haul drivers to operate 14 hours in a day instead of the current 12-hour allotment.

 

The American Loggers Council has filed written comments (click here for letter) urging FMCSA to pursue reforms.  ALC supports expanding the current 12-hours on-duty requirement to 14 hours to accommodate haulers that typically experience long-wait times at mills.  ALC also supports revising the definition of adverse driving conditions to include those times when log trucks are being detained by other third party organizations (such as mills) which are not allowing them to make their needed deliveries. 

 

Log haulers tend to operate similarly to those in the agriculture industry, as wood products must be delivered to processing facilities in a timely manner.  ALC asked FMCSA to regard logging as an agricultural activity and that all exemptions enjoyed by the agriculture industry should include the timber harvesting industry.  

 

You can provide your own comments directly by clicking here and filling out the comment form.  Your comments will be delivered directly to the agency. Comments are due by September 24, 2018.

Former Florida Congressman to Represent American Loggers Council on Capitol Hill

The American Loggers Council (ALC) announced today it has retained former United States Congressman Steve Southerland and his firm, Capitol Hill Consulting Group, to represent them on legislative and regulatory affairs in Washington D.C. ALC is a coalition of state and regional logging associations from over 30 states across the U.S., and is the only organization dedicated to serving independent contract loggers at the national level.

 

“We are pleased to bring Steve Southerland on board to promote and protect the interests of America’s loggers,” said ALC Executive Vice President Daniel Dructor. “Since it was established in 1994, ALC has continued to grow and gain effectiveness in impacting issues affecting professional timber harvesters and their businesses. We are loggers working for loggers and our members are frequent visitors to Capitol Hill, but Southerland and his team will provide consistent and strong advocacy for our industry.”

 

Steve Southerland serves as Senior Vice President of Capitol Hill Consulting Group. He was first elected to Congress in 2010 to represent Florida’s Second Congressional District and was its first elected Republican since Reconstruction. While in office from 2010-2014, he served on the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. Southerland was chosen by the class of 2010 to be its representative at the Republican Leadership Table for the 113th Congress and he also served as a Republican conferee for reauthorization of both the Transportation and Farm bills. Prior to serving in Congress, Southerland helped operate his family’s mortuary business.

 

“I consider it a great honor to represent such a time honored industry, made up of some of the hardest working people in America,” Southerland said. “American Loggers provide such an incredible value to our society. They are front line conservationist, delivering wood, fiber, and energy resources for the world. I’m proud to represent ALC and share their story directly to policy makers and their staff in Washington, D.C.”

 

Southerland and his firm will work with ALC on a variety of issues, including regulatory reform, transportation, federal forest management and biomass. ALC’s priorities include workforce development and recruitment, increased timber harvesting on National Forest System lands, uniform and predictable truck-weight standards, and the alignment of timber harvesting with agriculture under federal laws and regulations.

Mauck Insurance and Master Logger Certified Companies: A Win-Win Relationship

by Ted Wright, Executive Director, Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands, and Jennifer Hartsig, Coordinator, American Master Logger Certification© Program

 

We are often asked about the benefits of the American Master Logger Certification program, and certainly questioning ‘What’s in it for me’ is an important business consideration, not to mention part of human nature.  Master Logger Certification is a way to set yourself apart from the pack and prove to your clients and other stakeholders your company is a cut above.  For this article, we’re going to turn the tables a bit and explore how working with Master Logger Certified clients benefits a business’s bottom line.  

 

Recently we had a chance to talk in depth with Mauck Insurance, a full-service insurance agency located in Niagara, Wisconsin serving primarily the Lake States region.  Thomas Buckingham Sr., General Manager, explained how Mauck, their partner-carrier Secura and its parent group, Forest Insurance Center, differ from a traditional insurance agency. They are owned through a holding company of the Michigan Association of Timbermen & the Great Lakes Timber Professional Association and profits are distributed at the discretion of the board of directors, made of up business owners of the forest products community. They clearly understand that insurance is a difficult part of running a timber harvesting business and is often one of your most costly expenses.  While their company covers many types of business, they specialize in working together to support the forest products industry in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

 

As part of our conversation, we came right out and asked: ‘What’s in it for you’ working with a Master Logger Certified company? Mauck insurance has been actively seeking out Master Logger Certified clients for the last ten years because they know they are getting great customers.  Dale Kleffman, Insurance Producer for Mauck, simply states “Master Loggers take the time to go the extra mile and show pride of ownership and a desire to be the best of the best, working with them is almost always a positive and mutually beneficial scenario”.  

 

Mauck and their product Secura have the numbers to back up their statements.  Master Logger Certified clients run considerably lower loss rates than their non-Certified clients.  They are safer, better business owners. “They are professional and will be profitable for the long term”, says Kleffman.   Substantial discounts across their product line are offered to Master Logger Certified clients.  Mauck is looking to grow their relationship with Master Logger Certified companies across the Lake States and beyond.  

 

Secura Team members Laurie Zwerg and Allison Paulsen pride themselves on developing close working relationships with their clients in order to understand each business and their individual needs.   Brian Nelson, owner of Marvin Nelson Forest Products in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula says “Having a company that recognizes my participation in a professional certification means a lot to me and my business.  I respect Mauck for that.”  Providing top-notch customer service is clearly a companywide goal for Mauck.  Looking beyond their current clients, they are active supporters of the Forest Products Industry nationwide, and are contributors to the American Loggers Council, Team Safe Trucking and Log-A-Load for Kids.  

 

Tom Buckingham sees lots of room for growth with Master Logger clients, and states, “we are a company that puts our money where our mouth is.  Master Loggers are the type of people we like to insure”.  Turns out, being a Master Logger Certified company gains you recognition for both your work in the woods and your reputation as a top customer. 

 

Additional information about AMLC can be found at www.americanmasterlogger.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanMasterLogger/.

Tom Buckingham is the General Manager for Mauck Insurance located in Niagara, Wisconsin.  Tom can be reached at tbuck@forestinsurancecenter.com.

Komatsu XT-5 Series Track Feller Bunchers – Coming 4Q-2018!

Totally new design, more power, increased lift, and KOMTRAX®  deliver advances in productivity, reliability and durability

New Komatsu XT-5 Series features a more powerful engine, gull-wing style engine hood/service platform, increased lift capacity, new heavy-duty undercarriage, relocated cab and a KOMTRAX® telematics system (photo may include optional equipment).

Komatsu America Corp., a leading global heavy equipment manufacturer, today previewed its new XT-5 Series of Track Feller Bunchers.  Models include the XT430-5 (non-leveling), XT435L-5, XT445L-5 and XT465L-5, which replace the prior XT-3 Series machines. 

 

The XT-5 Series ranges in operating weight from 66,359 lb. (30,100 kg) to 74,516 lb. (33,800 kg) and features a new, more powerful fuel-efficient EPA Tier 4 Final engine, gull-wing style engine hood, increased lift capacity, heavy-duty undercarriage, redesigned and relocated cab, new hydraulic and cooling systems, forestry-specific guarding and KOMTRAX®  telematics system technology.

 

“We have been systematically gathering and analyzing voice-of-the-customer input to define our next generation of feller bunchers,” said Mitsuhiro Utsumi, vice president, forestry product marketing, Komatsu America. “This new XT-5 Series represents the culmination of translating that entire input into feller bunchers which truly meet the needs of today’s demanding loggers.  Shipments of the XT445L-5 model will start in the 4th quarter of 2018, with the other models to follow,” Utsumi said.

 

Performance & Productivity

The new 310 peak hp (231 kW), Cummins QSL9 9-liter engine provides more horsepower, torque and displacement and lowers fuel consumption by as much as 10%, due to advanced engine and hydraulic system control designs.  Lift capacities at full reach lift have been increased by 77% on the XT430-5, XT435L-5 and XT445L-5, and by 15% on the XT465L-5. The XT465L-5 now readily operates the Quadco 24-inch (610 mm) cutting capacity disc saw heads.

 

Operator Comfort & Convenience

The state-of-the-art, fully-certified, Komatsu forestry cab has been relocated to the left of the boom for industry commonality. Cab design changes provide superior lines-of-sight to each track. Standard rearview and optional right-side view monitoring systems further enhance the operator’s view. Eleven (11) LED lights provide superior visibility for night operations.

 

Komatsu’s highly intuitive, IQAN-MD4 digital control system programming allows up to three (3) different operators to program their individual control patterns for increased multi-operator productivity.  An IQANsync mobile phone app is available to allow remote access to perform IQAN system functions.

 

Reliability & Durability

New Komatsu heavy-duty undercarriages significantly increase service life including:

  • Rugged, 8.5″ track chain links, with thicker and stronger bushing strap, to resist “twist”
  • New high-density track roller and idler bushing material extends wear cycles
  • The XT445L-5 and XT465L-5 have larger track guard roller side openings to minimize mud packing and facilitate cleaning
  • The XT465L-5 has 9 vs. 8 rollers for improved load distribution. Track length has been extended to the rear by 5.3” (135 mm) for improved steep slope stability
  • The XT445L-5 and XT465L-5 have a reduced track slider angle that produces 30% lower contact pressure for reduced wear
  • All final drives have a triple labyrinth floating seal housing to protect the seal against mud packing

 

Larger capacity, hydraulic piston pumps for the implement, attachment and disc saw operate at 500 rpm lower speed, while providing high flow.  Each pump has pressurized suction inlets to reduce cavitation risk. Boom, arm and rear hydraulic tubes and hoses have robust forestry-specific guarding that improve protection and shed debris.

 

The totally new cooling system features a larger radiator, charge air cooler and a single hydraulic cooler.  All coolers have been relocated to the rear of the machine to minimize debris buildup.  Separate radiator and hydraulic oil cooler fan controls provide the cooling needed to maintain the required temperatures. Both fans have an auto-reversing function to help purge debris and maintain cooling efficiencies.

 

Ease of Maintenance

A new gull-wing style engine hood folds down to provide an elevated service work platform.  Four (4) other service doors swing wide to provide excellent service access.  An innovative new hydraulic tank design features two (2) tanks, which require 55% less total hydraulic oil (a refill requires only 45 gallons = 171L).  The attachment control valve has been relocated from the main control valve to the arm for ease of service.

 

Komatsu’s exclusive KOMTRAX remote equipment monitoring and management telematics system is standard. It utilizes highly reliable, satellite-based technology to transmit valuable information such as location, utilization and maintenance records to a website. KOMTRAX provides advanced machine troubleshooting capabilities by monitoring machine health and issues caution and abnormality alerts.  This information serves as a valuable tool for scheduling preventative maintenance and service.  There is no subscription fee for the life of the machine.

 

Komatsu America Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment, consisting of construction, mining and compact construction equipment. Komatsu America also serves forklift and forestry markets. Through its distributor network, Komatsu offers a state-of-the-art parts and service program to support its equipment. Komatsu has proudly provided high-quality reliable products for nearly a century. Visit www.komatsuforest.us and www.komatsuamerica.com for more information.

Note:  All comparisons and claims of improved performance made herein are made with respect to the prior Komatsu models unless otherwise specifically stated. Up to 10% lower fuel consumption results are based on using the XT445L-5 prototype vs. the XT445L-3 model – each operator’s results may vary.  Materials and specifications are subject to change without notice. 

Komatsu® is an authorized trademark of Komatsu Ltd. Komatsu America Corp. is an authorized licensee of Komatsu Ltd. All other trademarks and service marks used herein are the property of Komatsu Ltd., Komatsu America Corp., or their respective owners or licensees.

New approach needed for federal forest management

By Mark Turner

 

I think it is high time that we had some serious discussions in this country, about how our federal forests are being managed. For far too long, environmentalists have been the ones setting the agenda, with very poor results. For over 20 years now, the most common way of dealing with issues on our federal forests, has been to do nothing. Now, that might have been all fine and dandy, 300 years ago, when there were hardly any people living here. However, with millions of people living and working near our federal forests, it’s not really a viable option any more.

 

About a year and a half ago, I was in Southern Colorado. There, I had a chance to visit one of the few remaining mill owners/loggers. He showed me how they were removing dead and dying trees off private lands, to improve forest health. He also explained how the bug infestations got started in that area. He said that he was at a meeting, many years earlier, about addressing bug infestations that had gotten started on Forest Service land. He told me that, at that meeting, a well-known biologist told the Forest Service that, “if they didn’t get the bug infestation under control then, that it was going to just keep spreading”. You can probably imagine what the Forest Service’s response was. They responded by doing nothing. So, subsequently, the infestations got worse and started to spread to adjacent private lands. This mill owner convinced me to drive up into the forest service ground and see for myself, what the conditions were like. The contrast was very pronounced. The surrounding private forest lands were reasonably healthy, however, the federal forests were in very poor health.

 

The Forest Service, however, is not the only Federal agency that are poor stewards of our public forests. Here in Oregon, the Bureau of Land Management is responsible for a considerable land base. These are called the “O & C Lands”. In 1937, there was an Act of Congress that set these lands aside for, primarily timber production. Now, I always thought that an Act of Congress was something pretty important. Something that you couldn’t just ignore? However, over the years, environmental types have managed to chip away at timber harvest levels, on these O & C Lands. So much so, that the BLM has adopted the same type of “hands off approach” that the Forest Service uses, for managing much of their land base. To the point now, that, I believe, that they are no longer even coming close to fulfilling their mandate through the O & C Act. Subsequently, these forests are becoming just as unhealthy and fire prone as those managed by the Forest Service.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. I think we can look to other parts of the world that have learned how to manage their forests for the long run. Last year, at The American Loggers Council annual meeting, Ken Swanstrom, a former president of the ALC, gave a very fine presentation of a tour he had taken through the forests of Southern Germany. For me, it was rather eye opening. He said that during his tour, he saw some of the most beautiful forests he had ever seen. And the entire time he was there, he only saw three dead trees. There, they have been managing their forests for over 500 years. Foresters there explained that absolutely nothing was off limits to logging. They also explained how important of a tool logging was for forest health. His tour included a visit to the City of Munich’s watershed. One of the largest untreated water systems in the world. The forester there told him that “well, everyone knows that if you want healthy forests and clean water, then, of course you are going to log”. I wish more people in this country could understand that. Ken also told us that this part of Southern Germany produces the equivalent of 7 billion board feet of forest products annually. Contrast that with the Forest Service, in this country, who struggle to produce 3 billion board feet from all of their federal forests, throughout the entire United States. In fact, I was very surprised to learn that the country of Germany, because of their aggressive forest management policies, produces the equivalent of 21 billion board feet of forest products annually. While the entire United States produces 40 billion board feet. That, despite a land base that is 28 times larger.

 

Clearly, when it comes to forest management, we have a lot of room for improvement. One of the goals of the American Loggers Council, is to advocate for better management of our federal forests. I believe that the lack of management of our public forests is not only costing us in lost resources. But is also bad for the environment. In my opinion, the biggest losers from our failing Federal Forest Management Policies, are the forests themselves.

 

Mark Turner is the President of the American Loggers Council. Mark and his brother Greg operates Turner Logging out of Banks, Ore. Mark is an active leader with the Associated Oregon Loggers.

John Deere Rolls Out ‘Green Carpet’ for ALC Summer Board Meeting

Ever since John Deere fashioned a revolutionary plow from a broken sawmill blade in 1837, his company has delivered products and services to support those linked to the land. That’s why the company rolled out the “green carpet” to host 54 loggers, spouses and staff for the 2018 American Loggers Council summer board meeting July 19-21 in Moline, Ill.

 

ALC members learned about the John Deere’s rich forestry history on July 19 with a reception and tour of the company’s World Headquarters in Moline, featuring CEO Sam Allen and other members of corporate leadership. The next day, members toured the company’s Davenport Works and walked the same assembly line where John Deere’s L-Series skidders are manufactured.

 

The company also provided a tour of its Parts Distribution Center, a 2.65-million-square-foot facility that is one of the largest working warehouses in North America. With 61 acres under-roof, and at one half of a mile wide, the massive building stocks more than 900,000 unique parts. ALC members learned of the incredible logistics required to ensure the needs of John Deere dealers and customers are typically met within 24 hours.

 

On June 20, ALC members were invited to personally test a full range of John Deere forestry equipment at the company’s unique demo site in Coal Valley, Ill, including the company’s latest skidder, bunchers, loaders, forwarders and swing machines. Loggers also received a demonstration of the company’s cutting-edge technology, including its fully integrated TimberNavi mapping solution that provides operators maximum visibility to the land they’re harvesting, helping them to be more efficient and productive in the woods.

 

Later that evening, John Deere hosted special dinner for ALC at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., site of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic.

 

As a sponsor, John Deere has long supported ALC and has served as an essential partner for protecting and growing the logging industry, promoting logger safety and productivity, and advocating on policy issues that are important to logging businesses. ALC thanks John Deere for hosting the summer board meeting, and especially recognize Brandon O’Neal, Product Marketing Manager, and Faith Mowery, Coordinator Group Tours, Guest Services, for making the meetings and tours both fun and informative.

 

ALC held its board meeting on July 21 as the council continues to grow as the national voice for professional timber harvesters. Joining the board as a voting member is Southern Loggers Cooperative, which gives loggers and others in natural resource industries access to affordable fuel. The board also voted to further support the American Master Logger Certification and TEAM Safe Trucking programs, which promotes training, safety and recruitment in logging and log trucking.

 

To further enhance ALC’s policy work in the nation’s capital, the board authorized the council to retain a lobbyist in Washington DC to promote its policy initiatives. They also discussed a recent ALC on-line survey, where loggers overwhelmingly voted to encourage the council to pursue policies that would align timber harvesting and logging activities with agriculture, in order to receive the same benefits and exceptions that agriculture receives under federal law.

 

ALC will continue to grow, thanks to sponsors such as John Deere as well as to the dedication and hard work of its board and members. We are loggers working for loggers, and ALC is well-positioned to strengthen and protect America’s logging industry for years to come.

Federal Judge Orders Michigan Logging Company to Pay $878,874 In Overtime Back Wages and Liquidated Damages to 50 Employees

From the U.S. Department of Labor

 

A federal judge has ordered Timberline South LLC – based in Gaylord, Michigan – and its manager Jim Payne to pay $878,874 in back wages and liquidated damages to 50 employees after finding the logging company and Payne violated the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  

 

The U.S. Secretary of Labor filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after an investigation conducted by the Department’s Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD) Grand Rapids District Office concluded Timberline South and Payne violated the FLSA.

 

WHD investigators determined Timberline South LLC and Payne failed to pay employees – including truck drivers, equipment operators, and shop personnel – overtime when they worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek.  Instead, the company paid only “straight time” no matter how many hours employees worked, and paid various combinations of hourly rates, piece rates, and day rates.

 

In his decision and order, Judge Thomas L. Ludington determined the Division properly reconstructed overtime back wages for employees where the employers failed to keep accurate records of the number of hours employees worked, as the law requires. 

 

The FLSA requires covered employers to pay non-exempt employee’s time-and-one-half their regular rates of pay after 40 hours worked per week regardless of whether the employees are paid on a salary, piece rate, hourly rate, or a combination.

 

“Employers must understand their obligations under the law. Failing to pay employees overtime gives employers an unfair advantage in the market place and denies employees their hard earned wages,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Mary O’Rourke, in Grand Rapids. “We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance, and to make use of the many tools we provide to help them understand their obligations under the law.”

 

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by WHD.

Barrasso Releases Draft Legislation to Strengthen the Endangered Species Act

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 discussion draft. The discussion draft reauthorizes the ESA for the first time since 1992. The discussion draft emphasizes elevating the role of states and increasing transparency in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It also prioritizes resources to better meet its conservation goals and provides regulatory certainty to promote conservation and recovery activities.

 

“When it comes to the Endangered Species Act, the status quo is not good enough,” said Barrasso. “We must do more than just keep listed species on life support – we need to see them recovered. This draft legislation will increase state and local input and improve transparency in the listing process. It will promote the recovery of species and allow local economies to flourish. I have worked closely with the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association to draft a bill that works for endangered species and people alike.”

 

“I want to thank Governor Mead for his leadership on this important topic. Wyoming continues to be a leader of species protection and conservation. I will work with anyone who is committed to help the Endangered Species Act reach its conservation potential.”

 

Barrasso has worked with the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in drafting the legislation. The bipartisan WGA has stated that the chairman’s discussion draft legislation is generally consistent with the WGA recommendations for modernizing the ESA and includes provisions inspired by the association’s Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative, led by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. In a letter from the WGA, the association wrote of the draft bill:

 

“The Western Governors’ Association appreciates the Chairman’s willingness to productively engage with Governors, and that the Chairman has approached this polarizing topic in an inclusive, thoughtful manner. The proposed bill reflects this fact and offers meaningful, bipartisan solutions to challenging species conservation issues.”

 

The discussion draft legislation will:

  • Elevate the role of state conservation agencies in species management;
  • Increase transparency associated with carrying out conservation under the Act;
  • Prioritize available resources for species recovery;
  • Provide regulatory certainty for landowners and other stakeholders to facilitate participation in conservation and recovery activities;
  • Require that listing of any species must also include recovery goals, habitat objectives, and other criteria established by the Secretary of Interior, in consultation with impacted states, for the delisting or downlisting of the species;
  • Require that the satisfaction of such criteria must be based on the best scientific and commercial data available;
  • Enable states the opportunity to lead recovery efforts for listed species, including through a species’ recovery team;
  • Allow such a recovery team to modify a recovery goal, habitat objective, or other established criteria, by unanimous vote with the approval of the secretary of the Interior;
  • Increase federal consultation with local communities;
  • Improve transparency of information regarding the status of a listed species;
  • Create a prioritization system for addressing listing petitions, status reviews, and proposed and final determinations, based on the urgency of a species’ circumstances, conservation efforts, and available data and information so that resources can be utilized in the most effective manner;
  • Include studies on how to improve conservation efforts and to understand in greater depth the extent of resources being expended across the federal government associated with implementation of the act; and
  • Reauthorize the ESA for the first time since its funding authorization expired in 1992.

 

Read the draft legislation here.

 

Read a section-by-section of the draft legislation here.

 

Letters Supportive of The Discussion Draft Bill, The Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018:

Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts

Wyoming County Commissioners Association

Wyoming Department of Agriculture

Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Wyoming State Forestry Division

Wyoming Stock Growers Association

Wyoming Water Development Office

Wyoming Wool Growers Association

Petroleum Association of Wyoming

American Forest Resource Council

American Loggers Council

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association

Family Farm Alliance

Hardwood Federation

Independent Petroleum Association of America

Land Conservation Assistance Network

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Public Lands Council

American Sheep Industry Association

Safari Club International

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Simplot

Western Energy Alliance

Wisconsin Farm Bureau

 

Background Information:

On February 15, 2017, the EPW Committee held an oversight hearing titled “Modernization of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).” The hearing focused on the need to modernize the ESA in order to improve recovery rates and examining ways to lead to the eventual delisting of recovered species.

 

On April 26, 2017, congressional staff received a briefing from state officials titled “State Perspectives: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.” The briefing highlighted the bipartisan efforts currently underway by the Western Governors’ Association and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies to identify opportunities to modernize the Endangered Species Act.

 

On May 10, 2017, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) held an oversight hearing titled “Conservation, Consultation, and Capacity: State Views on the Need to Modernize the Endangered Species Act.” The purpose of this hearing was to hear from state officials on their roles and capacities in species conservation. The hearing examined state’s views on the need to strengthen and modernize the Endangered Species Act, including its effectiveness in incentivizing conservation, facilitating federal-state consultation, and ensuring adequate capacity. The hearing assessed ways to best help the Endangered Species Act meet its conservation potential.

 

At both hearings and the staff briefing, the EPW Committee considered the views of wide cross section of state officials, impacted individuals, environmental groups, and other stakeholders from across the country. Their feedback and testimony highlighted opportunities to modernize the ESA so it works better for species and for people, and so it better achieves its full conservation potential.

Action Alert: Urge Congress to repeal 12% excise tax on truck, trailer purchases

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to repeal the 12-percent federal excise tax (FET) on the sale of heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

 

The federal excise tax on commercial trucks and buses was originally imposed in 1917 to help pay for World War I. It has grown from 3 percent to 12 percent and adds $12,000 to $22,000 on the price of a new heavy-duty truck. It is the highest excise tax Congress levies on a percentage basis on any product, including alcohol and tobacco.  Truck owners pay this tax whether a truck is driven 100,000 miles or never driven at all, forcing them to pay taxes on an investment that may not be generating any revenue. 

 

The American Loggers Council supports this important legislation, and we ask you to contact your federal representatives to approve it without delay.

 

Click here to find contact information for your Senators. Urge them to pass S. 3052, the “Heavy Truck, Tractor, and Trailer Retail Federal Excise Tax Repeal Act of 2018” 

 

Click here to find contact information for your U.S. Representative.  Urge your Representative to support H.R. 2946, the “Heavy Truck, Tractor and Trailer Retail Federal Excise Tax Repeal Act of 2017.”

 

Thank you for helping us pass this legislation. 

© AMERICAN LOGGERS COUNCIL, 2018