On Wednesday, October 25th, 2023, the United States Senate confirmed Jessica Looman, with a 51-46 confirmation vote, to serve as the head of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, which she was already leading informally. In her informal role, Looman has overseen a new overtime rule, implementation of higher construction worker wages, and ongoing rulemaking on who should be considered an independent contractor. Prior to this role in the Department of Labor, she was the executive director of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council, where she worked with SMACNA’s Minnesota Chapter.
Under Looman’s leadership, the Wage and Hour Division recently completed work to modernize and reform the 40-year-old Davis-Bacon regulations, which took effect on October 23rd. These updates were a huge win for SMACNA members and the unionized construction industry. SMACNA has endorsed Jessica Looman since May of 2021 due to her work on several SMACNA-supported initiatives, including reforming the Davis-Bacon Act, refining independent contractor rules, promoting the use of project labor agreements, and enhancing registered apprenticeship standards.
SMACNA has worked since then for her confirmation by sending countless endorsement letters as well as holding meetings both with Construction Employers of America (CEA) allies and on our own. Looman has made significant progress on important goals most labor and management organizations support, from expanding construction career pathways to including greater diversity and inclusion in the construction industry to protecting the physical and financial health of the construction workforce.
On these long-ignored regulatory matters, she has earned the trust of our industry and introduced policy proposals important to our thousands of firms and their hundreds of thousands of highly skilled construction trades employees. She has been a long-time champion of a skilled construction workforce and a friend to SMACNA since her time in Minnesota government.