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WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 21– Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today released its annual update to “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard,” which reviews and grades state-specific policies and information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry. The scorecard highlights states that have created a free enterprise-based environment where merit shop contractors are well positioned to succeed and calls attention to states where strategic improvements need to b

On July 22, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have significantly changed the prevailing wage calculation process by tying wage rates to union collective bargaining agreements. In vetoing the bill, Gov. Rauner said Senate Bill 2964 would effectively discount the wage rates of those who have chosen not to join a union and who make up a majority of the construction workforce. 

Intent to compete forms for the 2017 National Craft Championships are now available for ABC members and chapters who think their apprentices and craft trainees have what it takes to win the title of ABC National Craft Champion. The competition will take place Feb. 28 – March 3 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in conjunction with ABC’s Workforce Conference. Intent to compete forms are due Dec. 1, 2016. 

ABC’s 2016 National Craft Championships gold medalists were honored before an audience of more than 40,000 at a July 1 baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Before the game, the champions and their families were given all-access passes to the field and were able to watch batting practice, followed by a picnic hosted by ABC in the fairgrounds just outside the stadium.

Parts of West Virginia are facing a prolonged cleanup effort after widespread flooding killed 23 people, left an estimated 230,000 people homeless or temporarily displaced and prompted Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to declare a federal disaster. To support the victims of this natural disaster, ABC’s West Virginia Chapter (ABCWV) has established a flood relief program and is arranging for donations of labor, supplies and equipment to help the affected communities. 

During ABC's 2016 Legislative Week, ABC members have had the chance to educate Congress about the issues that affect their businesses and spread the word about the contributions ABC members make to the construction industry. So far, participants have enjoyed the Diversity & Inclusion Summit, the Free Enterprise Alliance Reception and the Young Professionals Symposium. ABC members have meetings with members of Congress on Capitol Hill scheduled for the rest of Legislative Week. 

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that the new annual hiring benchmark under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) is 6.9 percent, down slightly from 7 percent in 2015. The act requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain veterans.

ABC has added Iowa Chapter member Mike O’Day of Hometown Plumbing & Heating to the Beam Club Presidential level. The Beam Club was established in 1966 to recognize ABC’s top membership recruiters for their commitment to growing the association. By recruiting five new members, ABC members are automatically enrolled in the Beam Club by their chapter. Members receive one point for each new member recruited. Beam Club activity is ongoing from year to year, with members’ point totals continually accruing and advancing members to the next Beam Club award level.

On June 10, 2016, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision rejecting ABC’s challenge to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial “ambush” election final rule.  ABC General Counsel Maury Baskin of Littler Mendelson P.C., Washington, D.C., argued the case on behalf of ABC of Texas, the Central Texas Chapter of ABC and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Texas on March 3 in New Orleans. 

The University of Washington Department of Construction Management inducted Kathleen Garrity, retired president of the ABC Western Washington chapter, into the Construction Hall of Fame for her substantial contributions to the industry on May 24. She is the second woman to be inducted.

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