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City of Columbus, Central Ohio Building Trades, to Sign Historic Community Benefit Agreement

On Tuesday, Oct. 31, the City of Columbus and the Columbus/Central Ohio Building Trades will sign an historic Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) to build the new Columbus Fire Station #35. 


The CBA requires that all contractors awarded contracts for the construction of the Fire Station #35 will be required to utilize highly skilled local workers from the local Building Trades unions. 


Additionally, the CBA sets forth a historic commitment by the Columbus/Central Ohio Building Trades and the City of Columbus to provide training opportunities in the construction industry to city residents. These training programs will help diversify the local construction industry and provide good paying careers for many in economically underserved areas of Columbus.


“Mayor Ginther’s signing of this Community Benefit Agreement represents an enormous opportunity for both the Building Trades and the city,” said Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council. “The Building Trades has been leading the charge to expand the number of skilled craftspeople in Central Ohio and diversification of our workforce, said Hager. “This partnership will provide the city highly-trained, local, skilled journeymen and women who will complete this project on time and on budget while creating career opportunities in the building trades.”


The signing of the CBA will take place on Tuesday, October 31 at 10 am at Firefighters LU 67, located at 379 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

ACT Ohio Executive Board and Staff Testify in Favor of Natural Gas Power Plant 

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing on October 25, 2017 at the River High School in Hannibal, Ohio to discuss a proposed air permit for a 485-megawatt gas fired power facility. The proposed gas fired power facility is slated for the former Ormet Aluminum smelter site in Monroe County. 
The Ohio EPA invited the public to make formal comments at the meeting, which it will consider in its determination of whether to issue the necessary permits for the facility. Over 75 local residents attending the meeting, many of the members of the Building Trades. All thirteen individuals that provided formal comment to the Ohio EPA were in support of the construction of the gas fired power facility.
ACT Ohio Executive Board Member and Executive Secretary of the Parkersburg/Marietta Building & Construction Trades Council Bill Hutchinson addressed the Ohio EPA staff and those attending the meeting.
“This project means jobs for our members and the community.” said Hutchinson. “In our jurisdiction, we have hundreds of highly skilled construction workers ready, willing and able to deliver this project on time and on or under budget to the project owners.”
According to the owners and developers of the project, Hannibal Development LLC and Ohio River Partners Shareholders LLC, the project will cost between $450-$500 million to construct. 
ACT Ohio’s Chief Legal Counsel Rob Dorans also provided formal comments at the Ohio EPA hearing in support of the project.
“The project’s state-of-the-art combined cycle generating technology consisting of high efficiency combustion turbines will minimize its environmental footprint, while creating 400+ construction jobs from ground-breaking through project completion.” said Dorans. “We estimate Monroe County’s economy will benefit in excess of $800 million over the course of the first 20 years of operations.”
ACT Ohio looks forward to working with Hannibal Development LLC and Ohio River Partners Shareholders LLC to make this project a reality and secure work opportunities for our members on the construction of this facility. 



ACT West Virginia Hosts Industry Conference

A combined conference of Apprenticeship coordinators and construction industry leaders took place in Wheeling on October 2 –3.The overall theme was to identify the craft challenges and opportunities for the region.

The first half day focused on apprenticeship issues such as federal regulations and funding issues, recruiting, working with community colleges and becoming a community college, and the industrial construction management training program.


The second day focused on major industrial projects like the Shell Cracker in Monaca, PA; gas-fired electric power projects proposed in Marshall, Harrison and Brooke Counties; and major interstate pipe-line projects proposed for the region.

Also discussed was a major initiative called the Appalachian Storage Hub which aims to build hundreds of miles of pipeline within the region to make the gas by-products like ethane and propane available for local industrial use; an analysis of regional construction costs; and the changing technology of drug testing. 

Professor Sam White, from the Institute for Labor Research at West Virginia University leads a panel about an industrial construction management training which included (from left) Mary Welgs, Director of Corporate Business Development, Stevens Engineers and Constructors; Keith Hughes, Business Development, JD&E; Lance Lucarelli, IBEW Local 246; and Dave Efaw, Secretary Treasurer, West Virginia State Building and Construction Trades.



Szollosi Tours Piketon Plant with Perry, Portman

Earlier this month, ACT Ohio Executive Director Matt Szollosi met with US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, US Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati) to tour and discuss the Piketon Uranium Enrichment Plant.

The plant was built in the 1950s. In May 2001, plant owner USEC ceased uranium enrichment operations at the Piketon plant and consolidated operations in Paducah.

The Dept. of Energy classifies the decommissioning of the plant under the Service Contract Act. Szollosi believes the site decommissioning and deconstruction would be better classified under the Davis-Bacon Act, allowing Building Trades members to complete the project in an effective, efficient matter. 

There is agreement that there needs to be greater efficiencies in the decommission and deconstruction of the plant," said Szollosi, "and we'd like to see that work expedited by the Building Trades."


WV School Boards Says NO Savings Realized from Prevailing Wage Repeal

In a report from the School Building Authority (SBA) of West Virginia dated March 2017, Director of School Planning and Construction Scott Raines highlighted the impact - or LACK of impact - on construction costs by West Virginia's repeal of Prevailing Wage on school projects.

"The overall cost of school construction does not reflect a reduction in overall construction costs on SBA Projects at this time," Raines wrote in his report. "At this time, the SBA is not realizing an overall savings that would allow for the 'construction of five schools for the price of three' as some have previously claimed."

Raines included detailed spreadsheet with his report, showing labor wage rates both before the repeal (2015) and after. "As you can see from the comparison," said Raines, the wages paid to employees post repeal are lower than those paid prior to the repeal. These differences are pretty dramatic depending on the classification of the employee."

Plumbers/Pipefitters, for instance, were paid an average of $22.54/hour less post-repeal, and Sheet Metal Workers saw an average drop on wages of $13.36. Every craft saw some loss of wages, ranging from $5.88 per hour to $22.54 per hour. 

This report is an example in action of the "Race to the Bottom" argument often sited by Prevailing Wage advocates, like ACT Ohio. Cutting a journeyperson's wages - sometimes by more than half - is a sure way to land more skilled craftsmen and women on public assistance; ultimately costing taxpayers infinitely more than paying Building Trades workers the Prevailing Wage.