The Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC SEPA) filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas against the Montgomery County Commissioners for inclusion of discriminatory Responsible Contractor Requirements. This provision would preclude the majority of local contractors from working on the Montgomery County Correctional Facility project.
The Responsible Contractor Requirement states, among other items, that a firm must participate in a federal or state approved apprenticeship program to be eligible to bid on the project.
“There are many alternative avenues that provide a quality construction education, such as technical high schools, community colleges, trade and technical schools and colleges and universities offering craft education,” stated Jeff Zeh, president and CEO of ABC SEPA.
“Most construction employers today use in-house, outcome-based training programs that allow employees to learn at a rate based on their abilities rather than an arbitrary time-based system. We believe that the inclusion of such a discriminatory requirement will decrease competition and drive up costs on this taxpayer-funded project,” asserted Zeh, who also noted that the inclusion of the provisions were part of a commitment made by Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews to local unions in exchange for their endorsement.
Joining ABC in the suit are Adams-Bickel Associates of Collegeville, Philips Brothers Electrical Contractors of Glenmoore, Guy M. Cooper Inc. of Willow Grove, and Wescott Electric Company of Aston. All of these contractors have bid and performed construction work for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, its political subdivisions and municipalities in the past.