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Labor Report Attacks Associated Builders and Contractors Labor Report Attacks Associated Builders and Contractors

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Labor Report Attacks Associated Builders and Contractors

May 31, 2012
Labor leaders on Thursday lashed out at Associated Builders and Contractors with a new report that they said shows the construction industry trade association misrepresents itself as the voice of the industry.

The 165-page report claims that ABC's members make up only 1 percent of the total number of licensed or registered construction contractors in the United States and that its membership does not include more than 6 percent of any one state's licensed or registered contractors. 

"[O]nly a tiny fraction of contractors actually belong to ABC," states the report, which was prepared by Thomas Kriger of the pro-labor National Labor College. "What these data reveal is that ABC is more accurately characterized as an astro-turf political organization with a well funded PR and lobbying machine."

Union leaders used the report to accuse ABC, which has advocated against certain union priorities, of being a corporate front group that hurts construction workers by driving down wages, undermining training and skirting safety measures. 

"The reality is that they are an ideologically, politically-motivated and anti-union front group," AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said.

In response, ABC spokesperson Gail Raiman said the report contained a number of inaccuracies and challenged the report's methodology. She said ABC "is focused on getting the construction industry back to work and creating the environment for all contractors to prosper based on merit."

The report also criticized ABC's apprentice training program--arguing that labor-backed programs enroll more apprentices and have better training--but Raiman emphasized that the program is just a small part of a larger craft training program.

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