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Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message September 2021

  Safety is always a top concern in our industry, but it isn’t just limited to job site accidents.  September is suicide prevention month and sadly, construction has the highest number of suicides of any occupational group.  To help change this, ABC offers a range of resources to support and assist contractors and their employees . Awareness is the first step.  This toolbox talk will familiarize you with the warning signs of suicide.  Standing up for suicide prevention requires proactively addressing mental health and making it a priority.  That requires creating a safe and caring company culture, which includes making sure your team is trained in how to talk to someone at risk of suicide.  Normalizing conversations around mental health and suicide could be a matter of life and death. The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, of which ABC is a member, recommends a three-level process to help contracto ...

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April 2021 Chairman's Message

President Biden has sent clear signals that he supports union-only policies for our industry, and the signals have emboldened construction unions here and around the country. The latest local example is the building of a new Holyoke Soldiers Home.You might remember that the Soldiers Home was in the headlines at the beginning of the pandemic last year, when a COVID outbreak tragically took the lives of 77 veterans. Now a new Soldiers Home needs to be built and the legislation to do so is on a fast track so it can be signed in time to take advantage of a federal Veterans Administration matching grant that will soon expire.Despite the need to act quickly, a state legislative committee slapped a last-minute project labor agreement on the legislation. PLAs require that all labor on a project come from unions. Since well over 80 percent of Massachusetts construction workers choose not to affiliate with union, the amendment would prohibit more than four out of every five Massachusetts construction workers from wo ...

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March 2021 Chairman's Message

Once thought of as a seasonal, dirty, and scary “jobs,” a growing number ofmore and more people are realizing that careers in construction are far more than that. Construction technology utilizes computer-aided drawing and design tools, lasers, and even GPS positioning tools. As the industry advances and evolves, it provides ever-greater expands opportunities. It also. The United States today faces critical labor shortages as it attempts to meet ever-the growingconstruction demand of the future. The industry that built this great nation a couple of hundred years ago needs to do it again. That’s why it’s so important that we promote careers in construction to the best and brightest amongst us –because the industry that built this great nation once a couple hundred years ago, needs to do it again, and it’s going to take every one of us all to getdo it done. March is “Women in Construction” month, and although we recognize, appreciate, reward, and promote “women in construction” every day of every month, dedicat ...

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February Chairman's Message

Those of you who have been ABC members for a while are probably familiar with the phrase “Get into politics or get out of business.” Engaging with political leaders is an essential piece of representing the interests of our member companies. The newly elected Biden administration will bring a very union-centric view of our industry and his designee for labor secretary, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is representative of that. Walsh, a long-time leader of the Laborers Union, will work diligently to promote the role of unions in the construction industry. The ripple effect from Biden’s election will also be felt locally. If, as expected, Mayor Walsh is confirmed as labor secretary, Boston City Council President Kim Janey of Roxbury will take over as mayor. Prior to Walsh’s selection, two other city councilors, Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell, had announced their intention to run for mayor this year. It’s unclear if a new mayor will still be chosen in November, or if a special election will be held before then.A ...

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January 2021 Chairman's Message

As 2020 turns to 2021 it’s impossible to not be optimistic about a better year ahead than the last one. I look forward to the year with additional excitement as I become chairman and will have the unique and humbling experience of leading the finest construction trade organization in the country. As Joe Camilo’s vice chair in 2020, I had a front row seat to watching how adaptive, responsive, and professional the ABC staff handled all that was thrown at them. We entered 2020 with a focus on restructuring ABC and the Gould Construction Institute (GCI) and in spite of the turbulence that hit us all quickly we were able to deliver on that initiative. As we enter 2021, we are uniquely organized to reap the benefits of two good organizations working in concert to form one great one. Speaking of the turbulence, as the pandemic took hold across the Commonwealth, all our companies sought advice and direction on operating our businesses safely and it was often ABC MA that was out front with inform ...

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December 2020 Chairman's Message

It’s hard to believe that this is my last chairman’s message. In some ways, it seems like I’ve jut gotten started, but in others the pre-pandemic world of January and February is like another lifetime.I can’t tell you how proud I am of how our members have adapted during this most trying of years. You have made countless adjustments to ensure the safety of your employees and done it all without sacrificing the quality and dedication that is the hallmark of ABC member companies. And many of you have even found time to give back to the staggering number of our fellow citizens who have been laid low by the virus and the economic pain it has brought.But we’re not done yet! It’s my pleasure to congratulate the 2020 Excellence in Construction Awards. These companies stand as a symbol of the grit and perseverance of our member companies and their employees.While we won’t be able to gather for our normal in-person event to honor the winners, there will be a virtual reception on December 29th at 3 p.m. I hope yo ...

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Chairman's Message - November 2020

In the midst of the pandemic, it’s not easy to provide the training young people need to access lucrative construction careers. But ABC’s Gould Construction Institute (GCI) is rising to the occasion in these unprecedented times.When you look at responses from a recent survey of Gould students, it’s easy to see why a growing number of young men and women are looking to construction. One wrote, “Knowledge is power, and with the right focus and hard work, there will always be jobs for the trades.” “I wanted more than working 60 hours a week for low wages at the pizza shop I was at,” another added. Construction offers a pathway to a real career – without the massive college debt that is crippling so many graduates.Last spring, Gould began a remarkably smooth transition from classroom to online learning, which has come with some unexpected benefits. Since students can just head home after work and fire up their computers, they are spared the trip from work to the classroom, and then back home after class. Th ...

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Chairman's Message - October 2020

All of you are well aware of the presidential election coming up on November 3rd. But I bet that a far smaller number know that October is Careers in Construction Month. The confluence of these two events provides a reminder of just how big a role construction plays in the national economy.In recent years, the focus in our industry has been on trying to find enough qualified employees to meet booming demand. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has paused that narrative, it hasn’t stopped it. Over time, demand for construction talent is still expected to outpace the supply.ABC continues to do its part to address this issue. Last year alone, ABC members nationally invested more than $1.5 billion to provide over 1.1 million course attendees with craft, leadership and safety training. At $1,100 per employee, safety education accounted for nearly half of member companies’ total workforce investment.Our chapter’s education and training efforts continue despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. Thanks to the ...

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Chairman's Message September 2020

A lot of attention has been focused on how education will take place this fall. Classes will be online at ABC’s Gould Construction Institute, but GCI has used the summer to maximize the effectiveness of virtual schooling.All instructors have received training on how to transition from in-person to virtual classes, as well as how to use the Zoom platform. To keep virtual classes manageable for instructors, class size has been capped at 20 students. If there is additional demand, we will create another virtual class. GCI team members have been taking part in the virtual orientations with the students and instructors and will continue to monitor the progress of the classes.When it comes to hours missed last spring due to COVID, any student who was unable to complete their hours will have an opportunity to take free make-up classes this year. They can double up on classes and go four nights a week by registering for a class at a different location on opposite nights. For trades that allow it, we are offering onli ...

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August 2020 Chairman's Message

The way we in the construction industry think of “safety” has certainly expanded in recent months. It used to be that safety meant ensuring that all our employees made it home to their families every night. Then came COVID, and a whole new set of precautions to keep our people healthy and our industry functioning with it.A recent heatwave reminds us that we must also take steps to protect employees from exposure to the sun and heat while abiding by COVID-19 health guidelines. The fact that it’s hot this time of year is not exactly front-page news, but it’s too easy to forget to take the necessary precautions in the midst of focusing on the many steps we’re already taking to keep the Coronavirus at bay.The first step is to encourage employees to wear the right clothing. Cotton soaks up sweat and stays wet longer, which keeps heat from penetrating the body. Loose-fitting garments are preferable since they maximize the breathability and airflow that help cool the skin and body.It’s also a good idea to wear opaqu ...

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