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Construction Wars

A recent press release from the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) of the AFL-CIO announced “Labor Leaders Release Major Study About the Associated Building and Contractors, Exposing a Disinformation Campaign Designed to Undermine America's Labor Laws”.  The study, entitled  An Analysis of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is an attack on the ABC for its anti-labor, anti-union lobbying and advocacy activities, and is another move by the unions to discredit the “open shop” approach of ABC.

The release cites the study authored by Dr. Thomas J. Kriger, professor of Labor Studies at the National Labor College, published by the BCTD, and underwritten by the AFL-CIO and Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).  In the press release, Kriger states:

“At a time when the construction industry is hurting and unemployment continues to be high, the ABC is spending millions a year to promote anti-union, anti-government policies that are putting America's workforce at risk.”

In his conclusion, Dr. Kriger states:

“ABC’s low road labor and employment advocacy may have produced short term gains for open shop contractors and construction users over the years (although this point is worthy of debate because many have excluded efficient unionized contractors from bidding jobs), but this strategy also produced negative consequences for the industry and our society.  Low wages and minimal training have had a detrimental effect on individuals and communities.  As a result, many industry leaders decry what they perceive as a tendency of young people to reject construction as a career choice.  ABC’s low road advocacy devalued construction as an occupation.  Where construction jobs once existed as an entry point to the middle class and as the backbone of local economies, it has been observed that today  ‘Construction workers – union and non-union alike – now tend to work harder, for less money, and under harsher conditions.’

The study sets the stage for the 2012-2013 political season and for the continued verbal wars in the construction industry today.

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