ABC releases scorecard on state policies affecting the construction industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has launched “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard,” which reviews and grades state-specific information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry. The scorecard website, meritshopscorecard.org, identifies states that have created an environment where merit shop contractors are well positioned to succeed and states where strategic improvements need to be made in order to create a friendly business climate.

The Merit Shop Scorecard grades states on project labor agreement (PLA), prevailing wage and right-to-work policies as well as their construction job growth rate, commitment to developing a well-trained workforce, level of flexibility in career and technical education curricula and use of public-private partnerships (P3s).

“The Merit Shop Scorecard will be a useful tool for lawmakers and industry stakeholders to explain how state policies affect the ability of contractors to conduct business and expand their operations,” said ABC Director of Labor and Federal Procurement Ben Brubeck. “The scorecard highlights high-performing states that have enacted policies opposing anti-competitive schemes and restrictive, cost-inflating mandates while embracing fairness in the workplace. It also identifies low-performing states that have failed to foster environments where businesses can thrive, invest and create construction jobs in local communities.”

The merit shop philosophy is the belief that people and companies succeed based on free enterprise principles within the free market system, which is characterized by open and fair competition and diverse participants. Those who adhere to the philosophy believe employees and employers have the right to determine wages and working conditions through either individual or collective bargaining, as they choose, within the boundaries of the law. They oppose violence, coercion, intimidation and the denial of the rights of employees and employers. Furthermore, they believe it is incumbent upon all branches of government to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and that government should award contracts based solely on merit to the lowest responsible bidder, regardless of labor affiliation.

Top ranked states such as Arizona, Louisiana and Virginia all received high-performing grades for enacting PLA, prevailing wage and right-to-work policies that favor free enterprise. Conversely, low performing states such as New Mexico, Alaska and New York received poor overall rankings by earning a D or F grade for their policies on PLAs, prevailing wage and right-to-work legislation and other measurable categories.

The Merit Shop Scorecard was developed with input from ABC chapters and industry stakeholders across the country. States were evaluated based on their policies and records on seven key issues:

Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)
Prevailing Wage
Right to Work
Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)
Workforce Development
Career and Technical Education
Job Growth Rate

Criteria and definitions are available on meritshopscorecard.org. The scorecard will be updated monthly with exclusive state construction unemployment rate estimates from economist Bernard Markstein, Ph.D.

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