From New York to D.C. to Detroit, Merit Shop Attorney Earns Legacy Award: Frank Mamat awarded highest Merit Shop honor in December From New York to D.C. to Detroit, Merit Shop Attorney Earns Legacy Award

A native to Syracuse, New York, Frank Mamat found himself in Washington D.C. practicing law at the National Firm in the late 1970s when he first connected with Associated Builders and Contractors.
“At that time, ABC National had an in-house attorney by the name of Richard Martin. We met each other and he started telling me about the association. Next thing I knew, I was changing locals and found my way to Michigan,” Mamat said. “It was Richard who encouraged me to call this chapter and say hello. So, I reached out and I joined.”
Mamat joined ABC Southeastern Michigan in 1985 bringing his expertise in labor law with him. He recalled at that time the chapter was significantly smaller and located above a store in downtown Clawson.
“We were picked on then. Members had maybe three or four picket lines a day,” said Mamat. “We had a labor prevention seminar to help members know how to deal with the picket lines and we knew we’d be targeted. We hired two people to stand in the windows and watch the parking lot so members’ trucks weren’t vandalized. The word got out and other contractors who didn’t know anything about ABC but were tired of getting picked on and harassed by unions reached out to ABC. All of a sudden, what was a negative turned into a positive. ABC was able to help and tell them what their rights are.”
Mamat shared that one of the biggest moments for ABC that pivoted the association to success against the unions was when the Raddison (now a Crown Plaza) by the Detroit-Metro airport was getting built in the late 1980s.
An ABC member from Kentucky came up to build it and Mamat recalled that job saw a thousand pickets a day.
“The unions were determined this hotel wasn’t going up. We had the pickets. There was gunfire coming in from the other side. There were professional actors who would pretend to get hit by trucks coming in and out of the job, and try to sue those companies,” Mamat said. “I was in Wayne County court every Friday morning for the better part of two years trying to get this cleaned up and get an injunction. I remember the argument the union attorney made to the judge was the people walking past the job were people on their way to the airport. I countered by asking how many people were walking a half mile with suitcases because the ones I saw all had baseball bats. We got the injunction.”
Prior to making his move to Michigan, Mamat was one of the co-chair lawyers for the Reagan. Administration. His focus was to coordinate with lawyers around the country to help with legal issues on the ground in all 50 states during the election and any recounts if needed. Mamat’s three states he was to concentrate on were Oregon, Texas and Michigan.
After the election, Mamat made his move to serve on the National Labor Relations Board for five years.
“Ironically, most people don’t know this, the attorney’s have a union at the NLRB. On my first day there, I was handed a union card and didn’t understand as a professional why I needed to join the union,” Mamat said. “So for a year, I didn’t join the union until a young lawyer didn’t get the promotion he was promised and I watched the union steward do nothing. So, I ran against her and won.”
He realized it was often difficult to find others at the NLRB who shared his philosophy that the employer was right and the union was wrong. Mamat served four more years on the NLRB before moving to Michigan to help ABC members.
“At that time, Michigan’s regional director had a 99% success rate of never being overturned and had the reputation for being the best regional director in the United States, which meant that if anyone appealed an NLRB decision in Michigan to Washington, they had a small chance of getting it overturned,” Mamat said. “When I would go on behalf of an ABC member to appeal a decision, I was already behind the eight ball. The regional director would go to the NLRB saying ABC doesn’t have it. But we stayed persistent, and eventually we won every time.”
Mamat said this was the moment ABC was considered one of the “Big Boys” in Michigan.
Frank Mamat was recognized for his dedication to the ABC Southeastern Michigan chapter with a Legacy Award on December 7, 2023. His work to protect members and defend them endlessly during the early years, contributed to the success we enjoy today. We thank Frank for his hard work over the years. He now joins the Legacy Award winners as our first non-contractor. Congratulations, Frank!