The Michigan Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a membership-based organization focused on non-union construction employers. The State chapter has three regional chapters; Southeastern, Greater and Western Michigan.
The ABC of Michigan Chapter’s mission statement from their tax filing (1) states that the groups’ primary focus is to represent members to the Government through building a rapport with elected politicians to “assist them in doing their jobs”.
That is political speak for: The Michigan ABC’s primary goal is to lobby politicians to pass or change laws that benefit their membership of non-union construction contractors.
The Michigan ABC is comprised of one statewide office and three regionally affiliated Chapters. The organization’s primary focus, according to the mission statement they provide on tax filings, is to engage in political government affairs (1). They attempt to do this through advocacy and direct actions like giving money to and endorsing political candidates. This goal is reflected in ABC’s leadership staff who almost exclusively share backgrounds in political employment and lack professional experience in the construction industry.
Three of four ABC chapter leaders possess no hands-on professional construction experience as an employer or worker – Keith Ledbetter who is the President/CEO of Southeast Michigan ABC is a former Lobbyist and political aide (2). Jimmy Greene, the Central Michigan chapter as President/CEO, was a former telecommunications salesman (3) and worked for the National Federation of Independent Business as a Public Policy Regional Representative where he worked to influence politicians (4). Jeff Wiggins is the Statewide Director and according to an ABC press release (3) he has exclusively worked in politics his entire adult life.
The Michigan ABC’s practice of hiring individuals to run their chapters who have no construction experience may explain why their DOL Sponsored Apprentice programs perform so poorly. ABC DOL Sponsored training has an average graduation rate of just 14% and only 236 apprentices completed their training in the past 17 years; of those graduates, there have been three black and only two women apprentices (6).
- https://www.linkedin.com/in/ledbetter1/ (accessed 10/5/17)
- http://www.abcgmc.org/en-us/home/aboutus/abcstaff.aspx (accessed 10/5/17)