In 1976, the ECA’s first Directors, Mario Ghilotti, Henry Ghilotti, Stephen Tyler, Arthur B. Siri, and Alfred J. Dalecio filed the Articles of Incorporation of the Northern California Engineering Contractors Association with the State of California. Those first Directors wrote down the ECA’s “SPECIFIC AND PRIMARY PURPOSES”:
1. TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN HIGH PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AMONG CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS.
2. TO ENCOURAGE SOUND BUSINESS METHODS, EFFICIENT HARMONY AND COOPERATION BETWEEN CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS, TENDING TO RAISE THE STANDING OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS GENERALLY IN THE BUSINESS WORLD.
3. TO OPPOSE UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES.
4. TO PROMOTE BETTER RELATIONS BETWEEN ALL THE INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS HAVE BUSINESS DEALINGS.
5. TO ADVVOCATE, FOSTER AND PROMOTE CONSTRUCTIVE LEGISLATION WHICH WILL INSURE THE SOUND DEVELOPMENT OF OUR STATE.
6. TO MAKE MEMBERSHIP IN THIS ASSOCIATION AN ASSURANCE TO THE PUBLIC OF THE SKILL, INTEGRITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF ITS MEMBERS, BY REQUIRING THAT THOSE ADMITTED TO MEMBERSHIP SHALL HAVE ESTABLISHED AN HONORABLE REPUTATION ON THESE FUNDAMENTAL POINTS, AND BY MAKING CONTINUANCE OF SUCH MEMBERSHIP IN THIS ASSOCIATION DEPEND UPON THE MAINTENANCE OF SUCH REPUTATION, AND UPON FAIR DEALINGS WITH ITS MEMBERS AND WITH THE PUBLIC AND WITH THE EMPLOYEES.
7. TO PROMOTE AND DEFEND EQUITABLE LABOR PRACTICES BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND LBOR THROUGHOUT THE INDUSTRY.
When I read these “specific and primary” purposes, they represent that those that founded the ECA were concerned about the workers. They wanted to make certain that being in the ECA meant you have some moral compass that includes making sure you are not doing business practices that take advantage of workers to gain an unfair business advantage. We “sell” that concept to local officials so they can count on ECA members being a cut above.
Wouldn’t it be nice?
So here is the moral dilemma: if you knowingly hire people that are not being paid what they should, and if you knowingly are hiring people and paying them cash so they do not pay income taxes, and if you are knowingly employing specialty services that come from outside the area instead of employing firms that live, work, play, go to school, and go to church right here in the community, are you at odds with what the first ECA Directors hoped ECA Members would do?
I have appealed to all that still read my weekly newsletter to hire local, and in particular, hire fellow ECA Members first. Why? Because they are standing for the industry and the community and they are giving back to the community by being a member of the ECA. ECA members are donating or supporting our Community Relations projects that have touched the lives of so many less fortunate. It is ECA members who get together and honor those that have gone before them with awards and stories that young people starting in their careers can learn from as to the right way to do things. It is ECA members who were first to help fire victims and most of our firms did not gouge people with their methods of cleaning up their properties nor as to how much they charged them. ECA members are guided by their moral compass. That same moral compass our first Directors recognized and wrote about.
Why do business with companies that are not ECA members if the dollars are close to the same dollars in cost? Even if it costs slightly more, look at the return-those dollars stay in our community, pay for our schools, our roads, our churches, our charities. THAT IS WORTH SOMETHING.
So as we move on with 2020, I once again appeal to you to go to our website, look up the Membership Directory, and ask your Project estimators, your Contract Administrators, your project superintendents, your project and area managers, your purchasing agents, do business with those ECA firms.
Everyone knows it costs a lot to live here, so make certain you are doing everything in your power to pay the folks working on your projects what they deserve, make sure they get paid in a way that they will pay their fair share of income and local taxes, so the cost of living does not go up!
The key and only thing we can really do, is make sure you can look in the mirror every morning and ask
Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all”?
Have it be you!
That’s All Folks!