In American labor history, the Associated Builders and Contractors—well-known in the building trades as just ABC but little-known elsewhere—played a key role in unleashing the anti-union juggernaut of the past half century. And a new report by Thomas J. Kriger, a labor studies professor at the National Labor College, provides an informative look at just what ABC is and does.
Founded in 1950 by seven anti-union contractors in Baltimore, ABC came to political prominence in the late 1960s. It was a time of tight labor markets, war-induced inflation, and successful union demands for higher wages. Many big businesses that had prospered with unions were beginning to decide that they could escape a tightening profit squeeze by avoiding unions or fleeing the country.