The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Monday, November 12, 2012

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

ABC hails Bush election victory
The Associated Builders and Contractors – the nationwide nonunion contractor group which opposes all things union – hailed the re-election of President George W. Bush.

“The re-election of President Bush and Vice President Cheney was ABC’s number-one priority in 2004,” said Kirk Pickerel, ABC president and CEO. “This election is an historic victory for those who support free enterprise. The record turnout of voters for President Bush and Vice President Cheney is an enormous testament to the success of the intensive grassroots get-out-the-vote efforts that ABC and other organizations conducted nationwide.”

The ABC has consistently led the fight to abolish prevailing wage laws on state and federal levels. The association has gone to court numerous times on behalf of its contractors to overturn union-only project labor agreements. Lousy worker pay by ABC contractors has dragged down pay scales for all the building trades in Michigan and around the nation, which has brought about lost man-hours for union trades workers.

The senior vice president of a huge ABC contractor in Texas said in 2002, “If low pay was a felony, I think most of us would be on death row today.”

In return for the support of the ABC, President Bush refused to loosen bookkeeping rules to help building trades union pension plans hit by market declines earlier this year – although he approved relief for other types of pension plans.

One of the president’s first acts in office was to attempt to outlaw project labor agreements on federally funded projects. He also deactivated the National Partnership Council, created by President Clinton to encourage cooperation between unions and government agencies.

“The reality,” said AFL-CIO Building Trades Department President Edward Sullivan, “is that George Bush … is continuing to eliminate project labor agreements that create jobs” for union workers. “He undercut their rights to organize and to bargain fair wages. He put their health care and pension plans in extreme jeopardy of collapse. He weakened regulations to protect their safety and security on the job.”

In the months leading up to Nov. 2, the ABC said it led a major nationwide grassroots election program in critical swing states, distributing nearly 900,000 voter guides, 40,000 “Bush for President” bumper stickers and 20,000 “Bush for President” yard signs.

“President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been true friends of merit shop construction,” said Pickerel. “We salute the Bush administration for its commitment to open competition on federally funded or assisted construction projects, growth-oriented budget policies, advocacy of association health plans and dedication to sensible regulatory practices.

More than one third of the nation’s union households also voted for President Bush.