While some people are fleeing metropolitan areas, other people are flocking to metropolitan areas like Columbus, Ohio for the abundance of tech jobs and other work in up and coming industries.
Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive-Secretary Treasurer Dorsey Hager is helping to make sure the labor required to meet the construction demand in Ohio’s capital city is performed by highly qualified tradesmen and tradeswomen. He joined the AWF Union Podcast to discuss how work is going in the area, vaccine distribution and some issues being faced in central Ohio.
So-called “Right to Work” in Ohio
Hager said the threat of so-called “Right to Work” is ever present in Ohio, where Republicans hold a supermajority in the statehouse. Despite the threat, Hager is not worried about it happening anytime soon.
Unions have always been present in Ohio and are becoming even more accepted. However, Hager said there will always be one or a group of state politicians who seek to limit the rights of workers who are in unions.
Rebuilding Ohio’s infrastructure
Hager is as excited about the American Jobs Plan as everyone else in the labor movement. He said it is refreshing to see a President, who campaigned on infrastructure, actually work to get something done.
The issue Hager is finding is the misunderstanding of what infrastructure is. It is no longer just roads and bridges. Infrastructure is all encompassing and covers things such as the electrical grid, schools, hospitals, broadband expansion and more.
In terms of funding, Hager said there are multiple avenues that can be taken. Taxing the ultra wealthy and corporations who have managed to avoid paying their fair share is one idea. There is also talk of raising the gas tax or instituting a usage fee.
Fair contracting in central Ohio
Hager touted the City of Columbus’s recently passed fair contracting law. The bill has made it so quality, in-state contractors can compete for the work in the areas their employees live.
The legislation allows the city to award a contract to the contractor who offers the best value, not just the contractor who gives a low-ball bid. This value includes hiring contractors who treat and pay their employees properly, provide safety equipment and more.
Hager also believes the new fair contracting law will allow more minority contractors in the area to thrive.