Advocacy Blog_ABC_Keystone

By: Austin Cawley, Government Affairs Coordinator

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family, and football. It is also a time to give thanks for the blessings we received throughout the year – and ABC PA has a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is engaged and passionate advocates.

This year started with ABC PA scoring a touchdown in winning a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for a project labor agreement (PLA) in the Philadelphia-area. The Commonwealth Court unanimously ruled that PennDOT violated fair contracting practices and voided the PLA. The decision was initially appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but quickly dropped due to the lower court’s unanimous decision and the obvious conflict between certain unions and members of the high court. While there has been no response from PennDOT, the ruling is a major and precedent-setting victory for the merit shop.

In the spring, ABC PA kicked a winning field goal when Lebanon County passed a local ordinance banning project labor agreements at the county-level.  This is part of a larger strategic goal in going county-by-county to encourage anti-PLA ordinances.  Our thanks go to Lebanon County Commissioners Bill Ames and Bob Phillips for their support. The springtime also marked our annual “Free Enterprise Day,” where over 60 legislators sat down with ABC PA members to discuss policy issues important to the merit shop.  ABC PA also went on the road to Washington, D.C. to meet with our federal elected officials.  I am proud that our Pennsylvania delegation was the largest contingency across all 69 chapters. In fact, ABC PA members were praised by Senator Pat Toomey for being knowledgeable on the issues and willing to put in the hard work to make real change.

While we have much to be thankful for, there is work to be done.  You may have seen recent communications regarding alleged prevailing wage charges filed against Goodco Mechanical by the Attorney General.  Talk about unnecessary roughness.  Goodco Mechanical is an ABC Central Pennsylvania member, who after nearly two-years of raids, questioning, hearings, and interrogations, was charged criminally with violating the state’s Prevailing Wage Act.  Now, that isn’t something to be thankful for, but the response and support of ABC PA members who stood up for injustice and discrimination surely is.  In just one week of our Action Alert airing on prime time, over 150 actions have been taken – the most of any alert ABC PA issued.  At our ABC Keystone Chapter, their board agreed to provide financial support to Goodco’s legal defense. The outpouring of support from ABC PA members is the reason we do what we do.

Most recently, ABC PA has been at the forefront in promoting legislation to reform the state’s apprenticeship law. ABC PA and our partners will participate in a public hearing in Harrisburg on December 17 – the first ever conducted by the House Labor & Industry Committee. It will be an opportunity to tell our story of the law discriminating against the merit shop.  We will also take the opportunity to educate legislators to the fact that the state has fumbled the ball by not aligning with federal compliance on apprenticeship programs.

As we give thanks, and as we look forward to another year of wins, we ask that you become an engaged and invested advocate.  For more information on all the services ABC PA’s advocacy program provides and to read past advocacy blogs, please go to https://abckeystone.orggovernment-affairs-politics.

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November 11, 2019