By: G. David Sload, ABC President-CEO
This quote may seem a little harsh, especially in a time when so many of us are so tired of all the political rhetoric and infighting. The year was 1976, and the quote was that of Joe Rodgers the National ABC President. ABC was fighting many battles for its members to be able to bid work, and if they got the work, to be able to perform it without union pickets and vandalism. Joe was trying to get ABC members involved, and in the ensuing years, to get behind candidate Ronald Reagan for President.
Some things never change. We still must fight in some areas to just have the right to bid work. Last month we reported that Commonwealth Court had ruled in the favor of two ABC members, J.D. Eckman, Inc. and Allan A. Myers, Inc. The opinion was that the PLA placed on the Markley Street project by PA DOT Secretary Leslie Richards was discriminatory against nonunion contractors and violated fair contracting practices.
We only got to celebrate for two weeks. Secretary Richards has decided to appeal the Commonwealth Court decision. Her first appeal is to the PA Supreme Court asking to have the case heard and overturned. The second is asking the Commonwealth Court to stay its decision so that she can bid the project, with the PLA, while it is working its way through the appeal process.
Why would one appeal a decision that was unanimous by all justices presiding over the case? I believe the answer is simple. This case is a precedent setting case. If the Commonwealth Court decision is allowed to stand, we will have the first legal overturn of a PLA based on discrimination. This has been our message from the time the first PLA, and now we would have a precedent setting ruling. Conversely, if this decision is overturned there will be a precedent set, that will empower future administrations or department secretaries to place PLAs on all state funded projects.
While this continues to wind its way through the system, we need to continue to push for legislation to ban PLA’s on all government funded projects. Senate Bill 104, The Open Contracting Act, is but one piece of legislation in addition to many others we will be pushing this year. We need you! The legislators know ABC, but what makes them act is hearing from their constituents. Throughout the year when we ask for action, we need you to reach out and inform your legislator on your company’s position. After all, this is about preserving your businesses and preserving the rights of all merit shop employees.
We need you to “Get into politics or get out of business.”
View the calendar page of abckeystone.org for upcoming Government Affairs events that provide you an opportunity to make your voice heard!
March 7, 2019