Published February 22, 2005
Volume 13, Number 2

ABC Takes a Merit Shop Approach to Labor
Associated Builders and Contractors Represents Over 575 Area Companies

The staff of Associated Builders and Contractors enjoys the view from
the patio of their new, fifth-floor Hacienda offices.

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

The “merit shop” construction philosophy is intended to encourage open competition and a free-enterprise approach that awards contracts based on merit. While dedicating itself to the merit shop philosophy, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Golden Gate Chapter, which recently expanded to offices at 4309 Hacienda Drive, offers its members an organization that helps them deal with construction-related job issues on an industry-wide basis.

“We represent companies, but we also provide benefits that allow the companies to prosper as well as their employees, says John Robinson, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Golden Gate Chapter.” ABC's activities include government representation, legal advocacy, education, workforce development, communications, technology, recognition through national and chapter awards programs, employee benefits, information on best practices, and business development through an online contractor search directory. ABC committees work with legislators, business councils, and the media to get the merit shop message out.

The ABC Golden Gate Chapter doesn’t only represent and support contractors, but looks toward educating those who are seeking training in the building trades. “We provide state-approved apprenticeship programs, sanctioned by the state of California, that allow us to provide someone a career in construction in five trades: carpentry, electrical, plumbing, labor, and painting. Our mission is to bring to into these apprenticeship programs, which are a combination of classroom training and working with contractors, to achieve a goal of a career in construction. We think there are some very fine careers available in the various vocational fields. We’ve been trying to work with high schools up and down Northern and Central California to let students know that there are excellent jobs out there for young people through the ABC apprenticeship programs.”

Those apprenticeship programs are only a part of the services that the ABC has to offer. The organization also provides a wide variety of construction-related seminars. These include education on management and workforce development, as well providing information on medical and dental plans that its member companies can offer to their employees.

“The ABC is a non-profit association that was founded in 1950 in Baltimore, MD,” says John Robinson, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Golden Gate Chapter. “We have approximately 85 chapters around the country, around 23,000 member companies nationwide, and approximately 575 member companies in the ABC Golden Gate Chapter, which encompasses the area from Fresno to the Oregon border.” The ABC has four other chapters in California, located in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.


Also in this issue ...