The official blog of the Marble Institute


Law Library: Mandatory Overtime

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

Employers and management have the general right to schedule mandatory overtime for their employees.  This right is subject to any provisions relating to overtime which may be contained within individual employee employment contracts or collective bargaining (union) agreements with a labor force.  The key to determine whether such a demand is lawful (in the absence of a specific agreement) is whether the overtime which the employee is being mandated to work is "reasonable."  The totality of facts and circumstances are reviewed in determining the “reasonableness” standard.


    A:    If no contractual provision exists addressing this issue in an employment contract, employee handbook, collective bargaining or other contract, the decision will turn on whether the mandatory overtime is being required or is discretionary.  The next factor is to determine whether a replacement worker is available.  The final factor is to determine whether the declination of the employee is based upon an inconvenience or a hardship (such as a disability or other justifiable cause).  

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Queries & Quandaries

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · 1 Comment

Q:    We do a lot of interior lobby cladding projects using 2 cm marble, travertine, or limestone anchored with traditional wire tie and plaster methods.  It seems like years ago we were always working in enclosed space with the air conditioning running.  Now, in the majority of our jobs, we’re forced to work without air conditioning and in some cases without the lobby even fully enclosed.  It’s taking forever for our plaster spots to dry out.  Is there an MIA standard that mandates conditioned air for interior stone setting?

A:    There is no standard, but the number of calls that I receive regarding residual spots from plaster setting methods suggests that you are not alone in having this issue.  It all stems from the current practices in construction scheduling.  When I got in the industry back in the early ‘80s, a lot of projects were said to have been on “fast track” schedules.  If what we were doing back then was truly fast track, then what is being done today must be “hyper-track”, and I’m hoping to be retired before we’re forced into “negative time warp” scheduling.  One of the ways to trim time off of the overall construction schedule is to replace sequential, consecutive mobilization of different trades with concurrent mobilization.  And in doing so, the HVAC contractor is still installing their equipment while you’re installing your stone, so the HVAC system isn’t yet operable.  In some climates, this is not a big issue.  But in humid climates during the summer time, the relative humidity is so close to the dew point that there is essentially no drying of the plaster.  One gypsum manufacturer’s product literature states that the optimum drying temperature is 110° to 120°F (~45° to 50°C).  If you have indoor air with a temperature of 70°F (~20°C) and a relative humidity of 50%, it would have a dew point of about 50°F (~10°C).  And if you took that air with a 50°F (~10°C) dew point and raised the temperature to 120°F (~50°C), the relative humidity would now be less than 20%!  So if that’s the optimum drying conditions for plaster, it should be no surprise that effectively no drying is going to occur in saturated air of say, 90% or higher relative humidity.  The MIA’s Dimension Stone Design Manual states that setting spots may be visible for up to 8 months, but I have seen them take in excess of a year to fully dry out.  In some cases, I’ve seen extended drying times result in permanent staining, as the water has had ample opportunity to transport contaminants to the stone’s surface.  The concern about drying conditions would not be limited to walls, since thick-bedded stone flooring, particularly when a membrane occurs below the bedding, also requires evacuation of the excess moisture through the stone surface.  And whether the installation is vertical or horizontal, grouting, and especially caulking of the joints, reduces the transmissibility of the system greatly.  Leaving the joints open for as long as possible will accelerate the drying process.

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1 CommentTags: queries and quandaries

Construction Corner: All Signs Pointing Upward for Housing, Remodeling Sectors

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

There were a lot more smiles on the convention floor at StonExpo Marmomacc Americas than in recent years and that’s because of the outlook for 2015, as portrayed in numerous government and private sector reports, has been very positive for both the new housing and remodeling sectors.

For instance, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) posted a record high result of 60 in the final quarter of 2014. A reading of 60 indicates remodelers’ confidence in the quarter-over-quarter improvement in the remodeling market. An RMI over 50 indicates more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report it lower.

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No CommentsTags: construction corner · nahb · stonexpo

A Note from Jim

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

As we look ahead to May 2015, I am pleased about the collaboration being undertaken to help educate architects and designers at two industry shows.

AIA Convention / Atlanta (May 14-16)
The Atlanta AIA convention will again bring the MIA, BSI, NSC, ILI, Marmomacc, and Informa Exhibitions (formerly Hanley Wood) together to collaborate on providing education on the AIA show floor. In 2014, we worked together to deliver a “natural stone academy” setting which showcased some of the best face-to-face learning available about natural stone. We will be duplicating these efforts at the 2015 show! For the MIA’s part, we will be presenting:

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No CommentsTags: ceu · education · marmomacc

President’s Message

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

Happy New Year fellow MIA members.  I sincerely hope the year has begun successfully for everyone and I wish a prosperous 2015 for all.  There are signs in the United States economy that suggest 2015 could be a stronger year than 2014.  This is encouraging and much needed to provide the predictability required to strengthen and grow our businesses.  Be cognizant of the last few years and use the knowledge gained in this time frame to shape your future business plans.  We are in a cyclical industry.  Construction, whether commercial or residential, will always ebb and flow.  I find a lot of knowledge in a quote from Jack Welch, “An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”  Gather your best people and spend a few hours discussing your business performance over the last five years. What happened?  How did it impact your three year, five year or longer range plans?  Also, as business returns, it is necessary to perform a new scan of your business environment.  All of our competitors, suppliers, buyers, and products have experienced the same business changes as your firm. A quick strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis could provide insight on how to adjust your business model to gain better results.  Or, it’s a great tool to get your leadership on the same page.

The 2015 International Surface Event (StonExpo / Marmomacc Americas) was held the week of January 19th in Las Vegas, NV.  The activity at the show was steady and optimistic.  The venders and attendees I spoke with unanimously felt the business environment is improving and felt encouraged about the upcoming year.  A noticeable change from recent years past.  The MIA takes advantage of this important trade show to hold the MIA Awards Luncheon and Annual Membership Meeting. The awards presentation and meeting were well attended and the contestants, projects and award winners were excellent examples of what this wonderful industry does for the construction industry and our built environment.

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No CommentsTags: awards · mia · president's message

Chapter Leaders Gather at StonExpo

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

Leaders from the MIA New York Metro Chapter and the MIA Toronto Chapters met on January 20th at StonExpo West/ Marmomacc Americas to discuss the MIA Chapters program and its evolution during the first two years of existence.  Members of the two chapters discussed ideas on how to increase chapter membership, event attendance and gain market exposure for the natural stone industry.

During the meeting, steering committee members revealed what has been successful in each respective chapter and learn from the other chapter’s experience.  While a number of topics were discussed, the recurring discussion included how to find educational topics that would appeal to local stone professionals and how best to reach those stone professionals.

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No CommentsTags: chapters · mia · stonexpo

Meet MIA President, Dan Rea

February 20, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · 1 Comment

NOTE: In February 2015, Revista Rochas de Qualidade (Quality Rocks Magazine) – a leading stone trade magazine in Brazil – conducted an interview with MIA president Dan Rea.  Here are excerpts from that interview.

An Introduction to MIA president Dan Rea and the MIA

Revista Rochas de Qualidade (Quality Rocks Magazine) had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Dan Rea, the 2015 president of the Marble Institute of America (MIA). The interview showcased the leadership being offered by the MIA and the importance to the Brazilian stone market.

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1 CommentTags: mia

NIOSH/OSHA Hazard Alert

February 19, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

MIA members and industry friends,

On February 18th the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Safety and Health Administration (NIOSH) issued a Hazard Alert about "Worker Exposure to Silica during Countertop Manufacturing, Finishing and Installation." NIOSH/OSHA have teamed up several times to issue Hazard Alerts to assist with the hazard education for many industries. The MIA, Natural Stone Council, and other allied associations were consulted and, for the most part, our advice and counsel was used for the final version.  A copy of report has been posted at

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No CommentsTags: osha

MIA Member Marco Duran named Stone World's 2014 "Fabricator of the Year" Recipient

January 30, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · 3 Comments

MIA Member Marco Duran Named Stone World’s 2014 “Fabricator of the Year” Recipient
The Nominating Committee for Stone World magazine has named Marco Duran of Atlas Marble & Granite of Springfield, NJ, as the 2014 “Fabricator of the Year”. The award was presented at StonExpo West / Marmomacc Americas 2015 in Las Vegas, NV. Criteria for the award is as follows:
•    cooperation in sharing technology with the industry;
•    willingness to pioneer in the use of new technology;
•    fostering educational programs for the training of stoneworkers in industry methods; and,
•    promoting technological progress through association work.

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3 CommentsTags: fabricator · stone world · stonexpo

A Note From Jim: MIA Focuses on 2015

January 19, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · 1 Comment

I had the privilege of going to Spain in November to witness the MIA receive a Macael Award, as well as learn more about the local stone market in the Macael region. When discussing what it takes to be successful in the stone industry, I could have closed my eyes and I would not have been able to differentiate between the Spanish producer or the U.S. producer. Both speak about the drive for producing a quality product, the value of trained employees, the need for strong stone associations, and passion that comes from working with the greatest building product known to man.

While in Spain I was asked to detail who the MIA members were and what priorities the MIA organization would be focused on in 2015. My response is a good backdrop to include in our first newsletter for the new year.

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1 CommentTags: accreditation · ceo's desk · ceu · membership · newsletter · safety