The Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council (PABCTC) is urging its members and supporters to contact Gov. Tom Corbett’s office to voice concerns about an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) sponsored plan to lower the ratio of journeymen to apprentices on job sites to 1:1 for non-union contractors.
PABCTC suggests that the ABC's lobbying for a ratio change is part of a bigger attempt to drive down wages. They also note that non-union apprenticeship programs have notoriously low graduation rates. The proposed scenario is explained by PhillyLabor.com,
Non-Union apprentice programs, where they exist at all, are notorious for low graduation rates, and low rates of women and minority participation. In Pennsylvania, less than 5% of all apprentices in the state are enrolled in non-union programs. Can you imagine a project where there are 100 workers, and 50 of them are 1st year apprentices? It’s a recipe for disaster.
Workers' rights supporters are being beseeched to contact both the Governor and local State Representatives to protest this “race to the bottom” policy. Changing the ratio of journeyman to apprentices to 1:1 would lower wages throughout the industry for both union and non-union workers. According to the PA Building and construction Trades,
It is nothing more than an effort by a small segment of the construction industry (ABC) to use a government agency to give them an unfair advantage over responsible contractors.