Chairman's Message: How Do Your Values Align With Others

Words: Larry Vacala

Larry Vacala, MCAA Chairman

This time in our country has been difficult for many reasons. Especially the victims of the recent hurricane. Our thoughts and prayers should be with all the families. It’s hard to imagine what they experienced and what they are still going through. Many lost everything they owned, but the loss of lives was most devastating. Keep them in your prayers.  Recent conversations with other members were a lot about how times have changed. Much has changed, but mostly people’s values have changed and the effects it has on business owners. Why is this happening?  Everyone is dealing with the same issues. Higher fuel prices, higher material costs, longer lead times and then throw in a workforce shortage. It’s become harder to meet a completion schedule and be profitable with these challenges. It has never been more difficult to find people that want to work. That is the case in all industries. And it doesn’t seem to be getting better.  In 2020 when everyone else was being locked down, construction workers were considered essential workers. We continued to work. Since the government lockdowns, our country has been rapidly declining. Many businesses had to shut down for good. It’s created fear in many individuals. It has negatively affected people’s attitudes, work ethic and the will to work. It was difficult to attract young people into a construction career prior to the lockdowns. It is even harder now.  Government handouts and coddling has weakened our potential and existing worker pool. I’ve heard young adults say they do not want to work hard. Many would rather work from home and that doesn’t bode well in construction. Many people are seeking careers they can perform from home.  We were already dealing with an aging workforce. Now we are seeing these journeyman workers retire and no one is filling their positions. It’s not a good balance when more workers are leaving the trades than apprentices coming in. Once the vocational schools started to disappear, so did the interest for working in the trades. That is why it’s so important to develop high school programs introducing young adults to a career in construction. College is not for everyone. States like North Carolina, Texas, and Arizona are doing a great job at building programs for high school students to get involved in masonry.  Every state should follow their lead if we want to build back our workforces.     Keeping workers is another challenge. Due to the current high cost of gas, you may lose employees for opportunities closer to their home. It’s understandable that everyone needs to figure out how to survive in a bad economy.  Everyone is dealing with a higher cost of living.  Higher taxes, higher gas prices, higher grocery prices.  Our most essential needs in life are costing more. People are struggling to find ways to survive.  All these changes lead up to very explosive times. Desperate times lead to desperate measures. It doesn’t help with the recent defund the police movement and soft crime policies. Times have changed a lot in just a couple years. The crime rate in most big cities has skyrocketed. It is no longer safe in or around the big cities. The most important election of our lifetime is here.  What’s on the ballot? Safety for all Americans, freedom of speech, out of control inflation, the sovereignty of our country. Our freedoms hang on the balance of power in our government. When you go to the polls, we will not only be deciding the direction of our country for the next 2 years. We will be deciding the survival of our freedoms and our nation for generations to come.   If you haven’t been paying attention, our constitution has been under attack. Especially our first and second amendments. Our big cities have never been so unsafe. The current administration is more interested in helping illegal immigrants, hardened criminals, and drug addicts than good law-abiding citizens. If we continue in the direction our current administration is taking us, the future for our children is not looking good. They will never experience how great this country was for us growing up.   As stated in a prior article, are you a person that makes things happen, watches things happen, or wonders what happened? If you’re watching our country erode. Figure out why it’s really happening. And make something happen.  That means going out and vote for what you believe is best for the future of our country. Everyone should vote. It’s okay to have differences in opinions, but our country is quietly being turned into a socialist country. Hard-working middle-class Americans are going to be extinct. We are paying higher and higher taxes to support so many other wasteful government programs.  What do you value in life? How do your values align with the current administration? You can make a difference by voting. If you do not vote, you should not complain if things get worse.  Stay Safe, Stay Strong! VOTE! Larry Vacala
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