ABC Keystone Merit Shop Advocacy Blog


The new year is well underway, and the government affairs staff has been mapping out an efficient travel guide for the long haul. Though it is a new session with roughly 30 new legislators entering office, ABC’s messaging remains the same – fighting for merit shop principles. The newly installed ABC of Pennsylvania Board of Directors has established our 2021 legislative agenda, which is broken into three categories:

  1. Participating in Industry Standard Legislative and Regulatory Processes: These policies include supporting legislation that clarifies the employer-employee relationship in work sharing programs; supporting a comprehensive infrastructure package; supporting liability protections for businesses; opposing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; opposing taxes on the Marcellus Shale; and supporting legislation that prohibits indemnification clauses in construction contracts.
  2. Investing in Workforce Development: These policies include supporting reforms to the apprentice-to- journeyperson ratios; supporting re-entry programs; opposing legislation that establishes “Responsible Contracting Ordinances” that shut out competition in the bidding process; and supporting legislation which promotes career readiness.
  3. Advancing the Merit Shop Philosophy: These policies are focused on ABC’s “bedrock principals,” which include supporting right-to-work; opposing project labor agreements; opposing the so-called federal “Protecting the Right to Organize” Act; and opposing any legislation that singles out or targets the construction industry.

Looking at the make-up of the Legislature this session, ABC is well-positioned to hit the ground running. At the state-level, Republicans picked up seats in the House and retained their majority in the state Senate. Returning to serve on the House Labor & Industry Committee is Chairman Jim Cox (R-Berks) and ABC’s policy champion on the apprenticeship bill, Rep. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland), who will continue to lead the fight on this important bill. We are also pleased to see many returning faces to the committee and look forward to continuing our partnerships. At the time of this writing, the Senate had not organized their committees.

Looking at the leadership slates, House Republicans re-elected Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre), along with other leaders that round out the team. On the Democratic side, the minority caucus has many new faces, mostly from the Philadelphia area, where we will need to build relationships and educate those members on ABC’s policy goals.

On the Senate-side, the Republican caucus elected Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre) to serve as President Pro Tempore. New to the Republican leadership team is Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington), who will serve as caucus chair, and Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe), who will join the team as the Republican policy committee chair. On the Democratic side, Senators Maria Collet (D-Montgomery) and Katie Muth (D-Montgomery) have joined the leadership ranks as caucus administrator and Democratic policy committee chair, respectively. A noteworthy detail is Senate Republicans elected the first female Majority Leader, Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), and the House Democrats elected the first female Minority Leader, Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia).

As we wind our way into 2021, ABC advocacy events will be dependent on the ongoing COVID-19 guidelines. Nevertheless, we want to provide a listing of what we are planning for the year:

  • April: Virtual Free Enterprise Day
  • June: ABC National Legislative Conference (Washington, D.C.)
  • September: In-Person Free Enterprise Day (Harrisburg, PA)
  • December: PA Society (New ork City)

Dates for the events above will be announced soon. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please email Austin Cawley at

As we hit the road, detours and roadblocks might come along, but ABC has a solid guide, and we will be ready for whatever twists and turns we face.

We are excited for the year ahead and cannot wait to work with you, our members.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out the David ( and Austin (

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Posted February 23, 2021