Associated Builders and Contractors is a national trade association representing nearly 22,000 merit shop contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and construction-related professionals in 72 chapters across the United States. The association's membership includes all specialties within the industry, and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors of construction. ABC is recognized as one of the leading organizations representing America's business community and the construction industry. In 2005, Fortune magazine rated ABC as one of the "most influential"¯ organizations in the United States.
ABC was established in 1950 when seven Maryland contractors met to counter a massive organizing scheme by the local unions. Their courage and dedication to the merit (open) shop industry spread rapidly, and within time, ABC became the fastest growing association in the United States.
California's Secretary of State accepted, endorsed and filed incorporation papers for Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego, Inc. (ABC San Diego). On September 13, 1976 ABC's national board of directors granted the fledgling construction group formal chapter status.
Another turning point came when ABC San Diego created a formal training trust in 1986. One year later it asked for state recognition of its first program.
In 1970, 30 percent of the nation's construction was performed merit shop and six of the top 400 construction firms were ABC members. Today, the merit shop accounts for more than 85 percent of all construction across the country, and ABC's membership has grown to include more than half of the top 400 construction companies in the United States.