The Greater Cincinnati Building and Construction Trades Council has filed a lawsuit to insure developers pay prevailing wages on all facets of a $78 million project in the Clifton Heights area of Cincinnati.

The union is suing Towne Calhoun Development and Al Neyer Inc., developers of the U Square at The Loop project.

The lawsuit asks a judge to confirm that developers must pay all hired construction workers at Ohio’s prevailing wage standard because the property is 50 percent owned by a public authority and is supported by public funds.

Ohio’s prevailing wage law has been in place since the 1930s. It was created to make sure all workers receive fair wages, health insurance and other benefits.

In this case, developers have divided the project into four parts, but contend only certain portions are subject to Ohio’s prevailing wage law.

The union strongly believes the developers’ inaccurate interpretation is costing construction workers hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay. Part of the lawsuit includes a request that the judge require workers receive back pay.

ACT Ohio strongly supports the Cincinnati Building Trades Council in their fight to make sure fair wages are paid for this public construction project. Ensuing that prevailing wage – which supports local economies and ensures the use of skilled construction professions – is utilized is a central mission of ACT Ohio.

There is no indication that developers have commented on the situation or the lawsuit to any media outlet.

However, a majority of the Cincinnati City Council appear to agree with the union’s stance.

Back in November, Council members revealed they had received complaints from some construction workers who said they were only being paid $500 a week, well below the established prevailing wage.

“We were under the impression that it was a prevailing wage project,” City Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan told a digital reporter for WCPO. “It was bid that way, it was advertised that way and there’s documentation to that effect,” she added. “Some time after the project got started, that changed.”

Now, the six Democrats on the council have proposed a motion that requires prevailing wage rates be paid on any development project where the city investment exceeds 30 percent of the project’s cost. The motion still requires a vote by the full council.

Despite the apparent support from City Council, the union must proceed with its lawsuit. June 3 is the tentative hearing date for the lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

 

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