ABC Keystone Merit Shop Advocacy Blog

By: David G. Greineder, IOM, ABC Pennsylvania Director of Government Affairs

As ABC members are aware, our association has been advocating strongly for changes to state-mandated apprentice-to-journeyworker ratio rules. Under a 60-year-old rule, merit shop contractors are required to have four journeyworkers supervise each apprentice. On the other hand, joint apprenticeship programs have unilateral flexibility in setting ratios through their collective bargaining agreements. We believe two set of standards is unfair and discriminatory.

The oversight requirement on the merit shop makes no sense with the creation of OSHA and other stringent government safety requirements in the construction industry. Frankly, the outdated mandate is burdensome and restrictive for low-risk industries, such as financial sector, which also must follow the 4:1 ratio.

ABC chapters have hosted in August and will host in September members of the House Labor & Industry Committee and House Education Committee to discuss the issue in greater detail. Legislators will be touring training facilities and participating in a roundtable discussion. The events held so far have been a success and put a spotlight on the unfairness between joint and non-joint rules. We look forward to the events coming up in September and will report to ABC members on the results and next steps.

Speaking of next steps, as we head to the fall session, we need your voice. On October 25, ABC of Pennsylvania will host an in-person Free Enterprise Day in Harrisburg – our first since the COVID-19 shutdown. During the day, you will have the opportunity to interact with key legislators who hold the power to make the change we are seeking. They need to hear directly from you, as you and your workforce are on the frontlines facing these challenges. Training opportunities will be available before the event to prepare you on policy issues and event logistics.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Sponsorships available! Click here for more details, to register, and to sponsor. We need you!

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Posted August 30, 2021