BY: KEITH ELDREDGE, CPA, RKL, ABC KEYSTONE 2022 CHAIR OF THE BOARD
With the start of a new year, there is always excitement over the goals and initiatives we set out to accomplish. Likewise, there are many exciting initiatives that we are working on at ABC Keystone for the upcoming year.
First, we look to establish the Inclusion, Diversity and Unity committee. Unfortunately, the construction industry has an image problem. For too long, it has been considered a white male profession. While attending the 2021 ABC Leadership Institute, we saw how other chapters are making significant inroads with the minority, women, Veterans and LGBT communities. As we look at an aging workforce, the answer must be attracting new talent to this industry. ABC Keystone and all ABC chapters should tell the story that construction is a great industry in which to work, you can make a good living, and it is an industry for all.
There are many of you that are fully engaged in this initiative in your businesses, and I applaud you. We need to take this message to the communities and show the greatness of the construction industry.
The second initiative is Total Human Health. At our last ABC Keystone Wake-up Calls we heard about suicide prevention. We had a wonderful panel that presented real-life stories which were very impactful on me. As owners, coworkers, and human beings, we need to put a spotlight on suicide. We cannot expect that people we work with leave their problems at home and come to work clear-headed. How can we expect a parent with a terminally-ill child, an individual fighting addition, or a coworker getting told by a spouse they are moving out, to come to work and leave that all behind?
A statistic from 2018 indicated around 1,000 deaths on job sites. Based on the CDC, that same year more than 5,000 construction workers died by suicide. We need to spend time and talk with the people with whom we work and really get to know them. We need to find a way to connect on a deeper level and care about those we see each day. Who knows when this type of caring may just save a life. To learn more, please visit preventconstructionsuicide.com.
The third initiative will be to expand our STEP participation. You have heard this for the last several years from past Chairs. Our incoming National Chair, Stephanie Smith of Poole Anderson, has heard the complaints about the fees associated with the STEP application and has put a plan together to eliminate these fees. Changes have been made to the forms, and as always, ABC Keystone is offering assistance to complete the application.
So, what is in it for you to take the time and resources to gather the data? By doing so, you help bolster the legislative initiatives. The Unions have done a great job telling everyone who will listen how safe their workers are due to the training they receive. When ABC Keystone fights back and shows the data of how safe our merit shop members are, we get one big push back. The fact is, less than 30% of our members complete the STEP application. It is difficult to demonstrate that our members provide safe working conditions when many of our construction members do not complete the forms. By completing the STEP application, ABC Keystone has more data to combat the propaganda and to explain why the 4 to 1 ratio for merit shop contractors needs to change, and prove we are as safe as the union workers. Help us to gather this information and use it to push forward our important political agendas.
The last initiative is the election. We have a governor’s election this year. If Josh Shapiro is elected, we can expect more of the same Union-first policies and procedures we see from him as our Attorney General. We ask that you educate yourself on the issues, vote, and encourage everyone else to vote. We have a tough election, but as one of our past Chairs, Roger Brubaker tells us, it is cheaper to defeat him at the polls then to fight and litigate after he is elected. For more information, please see ABC PA’s website abcpa.org, and if you are interested, get involved.
We are excited about the upcoming year. I will give updates on our initiatives as the year goes by. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please feel free to reach out to me or any ABC Keystone board member or staff.
Posted January 4, 2022