Promises Not Kept: Failure to Deliver on Massive Construction Project

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.

Business JournalO’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.

OFT-AFT Melissa CropperMelissa 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.


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America’s Work Force is the only daily labor-radio program in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America’s workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

AMERICA’S WORK FORCE RADIO IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY OUR SPONSORS AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS, BMA MEDIA GROUP, COLUMBUS-CENTRAL OHIO BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL, CUYAHOGA COUNTY VETERAN SERVICE COMMISSION, COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA, HEAT AND FROST INSULATORS AND ALLIED WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES DISTRICT COUNCIL 6, KELLEY & FERRARO, LLP,  LABOR CITIZEN MAGAZINE, LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, NORTH COAST AREA LABOR FEDERATION, MARITIME TRADES DEPARTMENT, OHIO FEDERATION OF TEACHERS-AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, UNITED AUTO WORKERS, UNITED LABOR AGENCY, UNITED STEELWORKERS.

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