ABC Keystone Merit Shop Advocacy Blog


Happy New Year! It is safe to say we are all grateful 2020 is behind us. Despite COVID-19, we were able to accomplish a great deal on behalf of our members last year. You can read more about those accomplishments via our annual legislative report found on the website.

Some highlights include:

  • We organized 20 construction, design, and consulting groups that called on the governor to recognize commercial and residential construction as a life-sustaining business.
  • We created a “Construction Safety Task Force,” which developed a nationally recognized critical resource document on COVID-19 workplace and jobsite safety protocols.
  • We increased ABC’s engagement by growing the grassroots network by nearly 50 percent.
  • We provided testimony in the Pennsylvania House on the state’s apprenticeship system and in the Pennsylvania Senate on COVID-19 challenges, which featured ABC member testimonials.
  • We endorsed and supported elected officials who are committed to defending free enterprise and the merit shop philosophy.

Looking ahead, I would describe 2021 as the year of the “new.” We are starting a new year, a new two-year legislative cycle, and we are embarking on a new course with our statewide advocacy program. ABC Pennsylvania has been a collective of the five regional chapters, which represents nearly 1,400 member companies and approximately 67,000 employees. In 2015, chapter board chairs signed a charter that established a unified approach to advocacy efforts with the goal of ensuring each chapter has an equal voice in setting statewide policy objectives. Two members from each chapter serve on a “committee” that discusses various legislative issues and develops position statements.

Last August, members of the chapter leadership teams recognized the need to develop more formalized processes and rules to govern internal affairs as intended by the charter. The chapters created a “special task force” for the purposes of discussing structural models and reviewing financial needs. With the guidance and support from the ABC National Office, the special task force reviewed model bylaws and studied how other ABC state associations operate. In December, each chapter board reviewed and approved proposed bylaws, as developed by the chapters, along with identifying two individuals to serve on a new board of directors. Unlike in previous years, the board will elect their own officers and have oversight of an annual budget. The board will preserve its responsibility of making decisions on legislative objectives and position statements. While internal processes and procedures will be more formal and efficient, ABC members should rest assured that services provided by the government affairs team will not change.

I look forward to working with the newly installed board and my staff in this new adventure. In last month’s article, I laid out my objectives for the year, which I believe are important to repeat with the context above:

  1. Designing legislative and political action plans that are strategic and effective.
  2. Creating strong messaging and informative collateral content on our issues.
  3. Providing timely information to ABC Pennsylvania so local leaders can make informed decisions and provide input on public policy matters.
  4. Partnering with ABC National to better coordinate and maximize advocacy efforts.
  5. Planning successful legislative events throughout the year.

As we embark on this “newness,” ABC members should know they are part of a bigger picture. To be successful, mutual support, teamwork, and partnerships must be made between the chapters, and members need to feel comfortable letting their voices heard. With the team we have in place, combined with the passion of our members, I know we can do it!

Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2021!

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Posted January 21, 2021