THE VOICE OF THE MERIT SHOP® Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing more than 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically, profitably and for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. ABC's membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors. ABC is the merit shop construction industry's voice with the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the federal government and with state and local governments, as well as with the news media. ABC's mission is the advancement of the merit shop construction philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation. ABC's objective is to deal with issues on an industry-wide basis through its national office and chapters. ABC's activities include government representation, legal advocacy, education, workforce development, communications, technology, recognition through national and chapter awards programs, employee benefits, information on best practices, and business development through an online contractor search directory. ABC was founded in 1950 when seven contractors gathered in Baltimore, Md., to create an association based on the shared belief that construction projects should be awarded on merit to the most qualified and responsible low bidders. The courage and dedication of those seven contractors helped to quickly spread the merit shop. Today, ABC is recognized as one of the leading organizations representing America's business community and the merit shop construction industry.