Dan O’Brien, Author at Business Journal Daily, spoke with America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on May 19 to speak about the Business Journal and Pro Publica’s investigation into the seemingly abandoned Chill-Can campus project.
O’Brien discussed the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970’s and how heavily it impacted Youngstown, Ohio. The city was once a manufacturing powerhouse. But since the collapse of the industry, Youngstown has not recovered. O’Brien said the city was desperate for investment and awarded millions of dollars in property tax breaks to companies promising new jobs in the enterprise zones. The case study that he investigated was on the construction of the Chill-Can campus. Chill-Can, the world’s first self-chilling beverage can, was to have a $20 million manufacturing facility built on the east side of the city, creating over 200 jobs. He said that the project was awarded $1.5 million in tax breaks. Since the groundbreaking of the project three years ago, only a pair of metal buildings sit empty on the site. O’Brien said it is common for firms to promise to bring projects that create jobs to struggling areas for property tax abatements, but fall short on their promises.
Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers spoke about the five steps the teacher’s federation has recommended in order to reopen schools in the fall. The first step is to keep the children properly distanced from each other in classrooms until there are no new confirmed cases. This may involve reduced class sizes. Next, Cropper said schools need to be able to test, trace and isolate the virus if one of their students becomes infected. Thirdly, she said there needs to be an alignment of public health tools to prevent the spread of the virus and put education strategies in place to meet the needs of the students. This includes having proper personal protective equipment available and exercising proper cleaning methods of classroom utilities. The fourth step she said needs to be taken involves workers, unions, parents and communities in all the steps to keep the schools, children, teachers, bus drivers and other workers safe. Cropper stressed people need to keep engaged, educated and empowered in the safety practices. Finally, she said the last step is requiring more investments into public health for schools, universities, hospitals and local and state governments.
AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc spoke about the Florida AFL-CIO demands to fix their broken unemployment system.