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ASM History
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ASM History

Through the Years

In 1950, a small group of subcontractors was alarmed by efforts to weaken a state law calling for competitive bidding of sub-trade work.

Determined to preserve the law and protect subcontractor rights, they came together to form the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts (ASM).

With the help of legendary construction attorney Joe Corwin (whose law firm still serves as counsel to ASM today), the founding members formed a legislative committee and set to work. Over the next several years, they not only saved the law, but persuaded Beacon Hill lawmakers to expand it to further strengthen the protections for subcontractors. 

Joe Corwin (1908-2002) and his wife and law partner,
Sally Corwin (1917-2004), who dedicated their lives to protecting the rights of subcontractors.

As a direct result of their efforts, we have the law as it is today, with separate "filed sub bidding” by 18 sub-trades, as well as direct payment rights for subcontractors and a short, fair form of subcontract in use on all public building work.

Also thanks to the founders' work, we now have in ASM the only statewide association that remains dedicated exclusively to the business issues affecting subcontractors.

Today, ASM is the voice of subcontractors on Beacon Hill — both union and open shop, in all of the specialty trades.

Repeatedly, efforts have been made to weaken or repeal the state's public bidding laws, and repeatedly, ASM has defeated those efforts through strong grassroots opposition. In 2004, ASM helped pass major Construction Reform Legislation that brought improvements to all aspects of public construction while preserving the best of the existing system — including competitive bidding for subcontractors.

Throughout the years, ASM has also been active on other legislative and legal issues affecting private as well as public sector work. Among our most significant accomplishments have been the passage of major "Prompt Pay" legislation in 2010, followed by "5% Retainage" legislation in 2014 -- not to mention, sweeping reform of the Massachusetts Mechanics Lien Law, achieved in 1996 in cooperation with other industry groups.

While remaining true to our mission to protect the rights of subcontractors, ASM today focuses on providing important resources and connections to help our members build their businesses. We also work in cooperation with general contractors and architects to promote fair business practices that benefit the entire industry.

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Legislative Track Record


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