BY: KEITH ELDREDGE, CPA, RKL, ABC KEYSTONE 2022 CHAIR OF THE BOARD
Politics continue to dominate the news cycle, whether it is about gun violence vs. the 2nd amendment, abortion rights vs. the rights of the unborn, inflation, or unemployment rates. All these issues will impact each of us personally and the businesses we own.
You have heard me talk about the various issues that ABC Keystone and ABC National are championing to help the merit shop contractor. One of the greatest benefits of your membership is the advocacy that is provided to your business on the local and federal level. ABC Keystone publishes a monthly Advocacy blog that often shares the bills moving through the various chambers. This blog can be viewed on the Chapter’s website (abckeystone.org). ABC National publishes on their website (abc.org) the federal issues they are following, involved with, or challenging. I find it insightful to read these articles monthly to understand the landscape of our political environment and the impact these issues will have on our businesses.
One of our industry’s biggest challenges is workforce development. ABC National has estimated that there will be a shortage of approximately 665,000 construction workers this year. They estimate 1.2 million construction workers will leave their jobs in 2022. I am constantly asked about the labor force, “Where are the new workers coming from, how are we going to be able to complete work with the shortage we have, and what are others experiencing?”
One of the legislative items that will have a negative impact on our workforce is H.R. 4521, The America Competes Act, that passed the House 222-210. ABC National opposes this bill and says it is bad for workers and merit shop contractors. The bill includes a card-check provision, expands prevailing wage and restricts access to the Nation’s registered apprenticeship system for nonunion workers. Based on industry data, 87% of the construction workforce are nonunion workers, however the current administration believes that these polices will improve workforce and increase employment. If nothing else, the Democrats come up with great names for bills that make the majority of the people think these bills are positive for workers and for businesses.
ABC Keystone continues to fight for merit shop contractors on the apprenticeship ratio requirements in PA. For those new to ABC or who do not understand the ratio requirements, here is an overview. For most trades in PA, nonunion contractors are required to have four journeymen for each apprentice. For a union contractor, most are allowed to have only one journeyman to one apprentice. ABC Keystone is exploring many ways to advance a bill that will put merit shop contractors on parity with union contractors. In June, Barb Gleim, R-Cumberland, introduced a bill that would set the default ratio at a 3:1 for all contractors. ABC PA has supported this bill to try and get parity. Our preference is a 1:1 ratio as approved by the federal government, but we will take a parity to help bring attention to the issue.
ABC Keystone and ABC National are fighting for your rights. Consider downloading the ABC Action App. This will keep you up to date with the national issues and allow you to send letters directly to your elected officials. You can also sign-up at ABC.org to receive alerts or the weekly update.
Advocacy is one of the core missions of ABC. The Keystone Chapter and ABC National are committed to the merit shop philosophy. There are many ways to get involved or get informed, and we invite you to reach out and gain more information. Learn the issues and vote.
Posted August 8, 2022