Apparently not content with denying its own workers access to affordable health care, the anti-worker Associated Builders & Contractors has teamed up with its right-wing friends to fight President Obama's health care reform efforts.
Using the profits its member companies have reaped by denying unorganized construction workers health care coverage and under investing in worker training, ABC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are funding grossly misleading attack ads against reform.
ABC wants to do for America what it has already done for the construction industry, which was once a pillar of the American middle class. It's no coincidence that real wages for constructions workers have declined as unionization rates in construction have dropped from more than 80 percent to less than 15 percent due to aggressive, anti-worker campaigns orchestrated by ABC. After decades of ABC fighting workers rights, the construction industry now has the highest rate of uninsured workers of any industry in California. Nearly 40 percent of construction workers in California went without health care for a portion of 2005, according to a recent study by UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research. Many of those workers labor for firms that belong to ABC, which wants to keep them without health coverage by defeating the Obama- and Democratic-sponsored health reform plans.
Union construction workers, in contrast, enjoy good health care benefits, career development through high quality apprenticeship programs and portable retirement benefits. And workers are leading the fight to expand health care coverage.
It is bad enough ABC is part of the problem, but it is even worse that it is fighting the solution. ABC affiliates in California should denounce the ad and work with workers to find a solution for our broken health care system.
Follow María Elena Durazo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@LALabor