Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Trades Express Concern as Trump Wavers on Infrastructure Promises

Throughout the 2016 presidential race, President-elect Donald Trump made repairing America's infrastructure a central plank of his campaign. He spoke of rebuilding the nation's roads, bridges, airports, as well as schools, hospitals, pipelines, water treatment plants and the electrical grid.

However, since the election he has tempered his promises, as have Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Chief of Staff-designate Reince Preibus. The president-elect himself said that the infrastructure plan won't be a core part of the first few years of his administration.

It's a significant retreat, considering Trump had promised to commit between $500 billion to $1 trillion toward the project.

Trade associations have expressed their concerns. Brian Turmail of the Associated General Contractors of America said it was difficult to tell if Trump's advisers don't know what the plan is, or simply don't want a plan at all, stating simply, "We're worried."

Others have begun organizing lobbying efforts to remind Trump and his transition team of the vital need for the infrastructure program, and the candidate's promises. The American Road and Transportation Builders Assocation prompted its members to send letters to their representatives, to hold their feet to the fire regarding the promises made by the Trump campaign.

The promise was that tens of thousands of jobs would be created by the infrastructure plan, and the building trades stand ready to tackle those jobs and complete the ambitious agenda set forth by Mr. Trump. Now is certainly not the time to back down, and we stand with our fellow unions in urging the new administration to make rebuilding our nation's infrastructure a top priority, and not allowing it to be reduced to an afterthought.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rebuilding America's Infrastructure Could Create Thousands of Needed Jobs

One of the issues that has taken center stage, both during the presidential campaign and since the election, is the rebuilding of the nation's infrastructure.

As a recent editorial in the Youngstown Vindicator stated, "what is not in doubt is the urgent need to fix the nation’s roads, bridges, public transit, railroads, energy system, schools, public parks, ports, airports, waste systems, levees, dams, drinking water facilities and hazardous-waste installations...."

We couldn't agree more, and President-elect Trump's plan to spend $1 trillion over 10 years to address the problem holds tremendous promise. (We hope his unusual approach to funding his plan holds up.) Of particular interest, from a labor perspective, is the fact that tens of thousands of jobs will be created, particularly in many of the nation's older -- and in some cases, crumbling -- inner cities.

Henry Cisneros, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton, pointed out in a recent article on The Hill website that 14.5 million Americans work in infrastructure-related jobs, a number that should increase under Trump's initiative.

More important, as Cisneros said, "these are jobs that cannot be that will put money in the pockets of people who will spend it in our communities, causing a positive multiplier effect."

At the same time, the National Association of Home Builders estimates there are about 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S., an 81 percent increase over the past two years. The effects of the recession in 2008 and 2009 caused many workers to go back to school, join the military or take lower-paying jobs in retail and other fields. 

As a result, training will be essential if Mr. Trump's plan is to work. We offer apprenticeship training as a way to learn on the job and build a more secure, high-paying career. Visit our website at to learn more.

We joined the national Building Trades council in congratulating Mr. Trump for his election victory in November, but we also pledged to hold him accountable for his promises and his actions in office. We hope that his plan to rebuild America's infrastructure comes to fruition and creates jobs that will help propel our economy forward.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Working With the President-Elect, and Holding Him Accountable

The election results are in, and the voters have spoken. In January, Donald Trump will take the oath of office as our country's 45th president.

President-Elect Donald Trump
The positions of both candidates were clear, and unions across the country had lined up behind Mrs. Clinton because of her support for organized labor and the issues we've always fought for.

Win or lose, in the United States our tradition is to support the person elected to the highest office in the land and give that person a chance to do the job. At the same time, the concept of a "loyal opposition" is to continue to advocate for the things you hold dear, while also holding elected officials accountable for their decisions while in office.

Immediately after the election, our national affiliate, North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU), issued a statement congratulating Mr. Trump on his victory“After a long and sometimes divisive campaign, we echo the words of Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton that the time has come for our nation to come together as one united people and to apply our collective energies in a non-partisan fashion in order to move our great nation forward," said the statement.
“Our nation has always been strong and resilient when it comes to government transition," it continued. "We have always been able to withstand contentious political discourse and debate. In every election, we accept the decision of the American electorate, and then we go about working to coalesce around our new President, not as Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans, and to begin the work of building an even brighter future for our country."

On the other side of the coin, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, issued a statement right before Thanksgiving that reminded us of the "loyal opposition" role: "This election season we heard many promises of plenty—promises to create jobs, to raise wages, to protect working people from economic insecurity. Yet we know the business lobbyists are already making plans for how the Trump administration can cut working people’s wages, privatize Medicare and Social Security and attack workers’ rights on the job. This Thanksgiving, the labor movement reaffirms our commitment to hold America’s newly elected president accountable to the promises he made to working people."

We just witnessed a presidential election like none other our country, one that elected a candidate like none other before him. Like the NABTU, we wish him well and hope that he pursues policies that benefit American workers and their families. But also, like Mr. Trumka pointed out, we will continue to fight for the issues we believe in, and pledge to hold President Trump accountable for his promises, his decisions, and the results he produces for the American people.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Friday, November 18, 2016

National Apprenticeship Week Highlights Skilled Labor Training Across the U.S.A.

This is National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 14-20), as highlighted by a special web page published by the U.S. Department of Labor. It was the second annual apprenticeship week, as proclaimed in 2015 by President Obama, following in the footsteps of President John F. Kennedy, who issued a similar proclamation, for National Apprenticeship Month, in 1962.

Part of our apprenticeship training brochure
National Apprenticeship Week recognizes the important role apprentices play in offering employers an opportunity to develop a highly skilled workforce and career seekers the chance to earn a salary while learning the skills necessary to be successful in a trade. The week celebrates the role that apprenticeship programs play in moving America's vital industries forward.

As we wrote on this blog in August, apprenticeships are making a difference for skilled workers nationwide. In that article we cited several examples from around the country of the value of apprenticeship programs and the difference they're making both for employers and laborers.

This week an article in The Hill, a political newspaper published in Washington, D.C., focused on removing the barriers that exist for women seeking apprenticeships. "Women currently account for only 6.3% of apprentices and less than 3% of apprentices in the construction and building trades," the article said. "At a time when women make up 47% of the workforce -- and when the construction industry is seeing its highest growth rate since 2005 -- such paltry numbers are simply unacceptable."

Apprenticeship training is of the highest caliber and is specific to the construction industry. Trainees learn exactly what is needed to succeed and qualify for advancement. You can review our brochure containing information about our apprenticeship training programs on our website,

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hillary for President: Both the NABTU and AFL-CIO Agree

As Election Day nears, the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council reminds you of the presidential endorsements of both North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the AFL-CIO.

The NABTU announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President in December 2015. "In these times of international strife and uncertainty, our nation needs a leader with the toughness, strength, intelligence and experience to successfully steer the United States through tumultuous waters," said Sean McGarvey, NABTU president. "Here at home, we trust that Secretary Clinton will always do what's best for America's working families."

In may, the organization formally recognized Mrs. Clinton for promising infrastructure action during her first 100 days in office. “North America’s Building Trades Unions are pleased with Hillary Clinton’s proposal to, if elected President, move a 5-year $275 billion infrastructure investment plan during her first 100 days in office in order to upgrade our nation’s roads, bridges, airports and public transit," the statement declared. “In the same vein as Mrs. Clinton, the skilled craft professionals of our unions believe wholeheartedly that to build a strong economy for our future, we must rebuild the foundation on which that economy is built upon, and that is our infrastructure."

In June the general board of the AFL-CIO voted to endorse Mrs. Clinton for President, as well. “Hillary Clinton is a proven leader who shares our values,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Throughout the campaign, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to the issues that matter to working people, and our members have taken notice. The activism of working people has already been a major force in this election and is now poised to elect Hillary Clinton and move America forward.”

Lee Saunders, AFSCME President and Chair of the AFL-CIO Political Committee said, “This election offers a stark choice between an unstoppable champion for working families and an unstable charlatan who made his fortune scamming them. Working people know that Hillary Clinton has the temperament and experience to unite all Americans in our fight to increase incomes at home and extinguish threats abroad.”
The election approaching on Nov. 8 is an important day in our country's history, and for workers across the country. Be sure to get out and vote -- let's make our voices heard!

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why Union Support for Hillary Clinton is Strong

As the 2016 Presidential campaign rolls along, labor unions across the country have been lining up in their support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

It was significant earlier this year when the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America (CWA), at one time in favor of Sen. Bernie Sanders, recognized that the result of the primaries was that Mrs. Clinton would be the party’s nominee and announced their support of her candidacy.

Whatever you think of Secretary Clinton — I happen to think she was a damn good senator from New York and that a lot of the hostility against her is attributable to out-and-out sexism and to the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ — she is the candidate who is running against Donald Trump,” said Chris Shelton, CWA president. “And brothers and sisters, we must stop Donald Trump from becoming president.”

This came on the heels of an earlier statement from leaders of more than 20 unions, representing more than 10 million workers, that affirmed their support for the former secretary of state.

“Secretary Clinton has proven herself as the fighter and champion working people and their families need in the White House,” read the statement. “That is why, of all unions endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary, the vast majority of the membership in these unions has endorsed her.”

The statement was released on behalf of a number of large labor unions, including Service Employees International, the American Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

As we reported previously, Mrs. Clinton has also earned the support of our national affiliate, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), as well as the AFL-CIO.

As the election nears, we encourage our members to support Hillary Clinton for President. Click here to learn her position on labor issues, as outlined on her campaignwebsite.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Thursday, September 29, 2016

In Demand: Worker Training Remains a Priority

"It pays to know a trade."

We couldn't agree more with those words, which appeared in an editorial published Sept. 2 in The Canton Repository. After the Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio companies were experiencing "greater than average"difficulty filling jobs in the construction trades, the Repository expressed support for a new law designed to help that will take effect in 2017.

Construction trades Canton Ohio

The workforce development plan, which got a $10 million boost in the state's 2015 operating budget, provides grants of up to $5,000 for students who seek training in a field where there is a shortage of workers. State Rep. Kirk Schuring of Jackson Township was a supporter of the funding, which requires an experiential component like an apprenticeship in a trade.

Our chairman, Dave Kirven, who is business manager for Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local 94 in Canton, said the local shortage isn't currently severe because of the drop off in the oil and gas industry over the last couple of years.

As the editorial pointed out: "There's plenty of work now for established tradesmen between the natural gas power plant being built in Carroll County and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village project."

We're fortunate in that regard. Still, the importance of worker training remains a priority, which is why apprenticeship programs are so important.

"Ohio must continue to encourage young people to explore careers in the trades and offer adequate training programs for adults transitioning between careers," the Repository editorial said.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council places a high priority on worker training. For more information about our construction industry apprenticeship programs, click here and click here to view our brochure.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is on line at

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Union Membership: The Return on Investment is Strong!

Recent articles from a cross section of websites across the country demonstrated the outstanding return on union apprentice programs and membership.

Ann article titled "I'm In a Union -- You're Welcome," published on on Aug. 20, showed how strong unions result in higher wages for members and nonmembers alike.

the illinois update
The article refers to the decline in private-sector union membership over the past four decades, from a third of all private-sector employees in 1979 to just 6.7 today. It then cites a study by the Economic Policy Institute that suggests the typical full-time private sector worker (union or not) "would be making thousands of dollars more per year if unions had the power they once did to influence a state's or region's standard wages and benefits packages."

Meanwhile, the Midwest Economic Policy Institute published on its website,, an article headlined, "Unionized Construction Workers in Minnesota Get Back $5.59 for Every Dollar Paid in Dues."

The article points out that more than 30 percent of Minnesota construction workers are union members. It also cites statistics from a study by the institute, including substantial wage and benefit increases for union members, dues spent on bargaining and representation, and more.

Finally, an article on The Illinois Update ( said that the state's construction apprenticeship programs return $11 in total benefits for every dollar invested.

"For many young Illinois workers, enrolling in a registered apprenticeship program is a better option than attending a college or university," the article states. 

It goes on to show that registered apprenticeship programs in Illinois' construction industry generate substantial economic benefits to the state.

Time and time again, statistics reveal that the benefits of union membership, and union apprenticeship programs, benefit all workers, across the country.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at
Keep up with the latest headlines on the council's online publication, The ECO Building Trader.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Value of Apprenticeships: In the News

The undeniable value of apprenticeship programs have recently been in the news across the country.

An Aug. 25 article in the Mississippi Business Journal reported that 90 new apprentices are taking part in a five-year training program, sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), to become certified to work in commercial and industrial construction. The program was created more than 70 years ago by the IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

(Missouri Business Journal photo)
"So far the NECA/IBEW alliance has trained more than 350,000 apprentices to become journeymen and is the largest such training program of its kind," the report said, while also detailing the 900 hours of classroom work and almost 10,000 hours of on-the-job training necessary to be certified.

In that same issue, the Journal profiled a "Women in Construction" program that is providing women with a way to make a living wage to support their families. Classes run eight to 12 weeks, and training "can include apprenticeships or workforce training at community colleges."

In Iowa, Monica Verdon, a candidate for Congress, stressed the importance of investing in workforce training and job training during a campaign stop Aug. 25 at the Iron Workers Local 89 apprentice training center in Cedar Rapids.

Steve Coleson, a journeyman iron worker and part-time instructor at the center, told Verdon that apprentice iron workers start at $17.15 an hour, with benefits doubling that. "Journeyman iron workers can earn $45,000 a year and superintendents can make six-figure salaries," he said.

Verdon was impressed. "A four-year degree is not the only route to a successful career," she said. "We need to be doing everything we can to ensure Iowans are prepared for high-skill, good-paying jobs."

Apprenticeship programs are making a difference for skilled workers nationwide. Learn more about local apprenticeship programs at the East Central Ohio Building Trades website.

The East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council is online at

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summarizing the Problem with 'Right-to-Work'

(AFL-CIO graphic)
Since 2012, four states have adopted right-to-work laws: Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The danger, as the AFL-CIO has pointed out in an article on its website, is that by targeting unions and making them weaker, these laws lower wages and negatively affect living standards for workers.

The article points out that workers in right-to-work states earn almost $6,000 a year less than workers in other states. It also summarizes the case against right-to-work in a series of clear, documented points, pointing out that those states have:

  • Lower wages and incomes
  • Lower rates of health insurance coverage
  • Higher poverty and infant mortality rates
  • Less investment in education
  • Higher workplace fatalities

In addition, states without right-to-work laws benefit from a higher tax base, which has the effect of improving the overall quality of life.

Review the entire summary on the AFL-CIO website

Review the Economic Policy Institute's research on right-to-work.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Sunday, July 17, 2016

NABTU, AFL-CIO Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

Hillary Clinton
As the Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland, and the Democratic National Convention approaches next week in Philadelphia, it's a good time to be reminded of the 2016 presidential endorsements of two leading union organizations.

First up was the endorsement announcement in December 2015 of North America's Building Trade Unions (NABTU). Long before she clinched her party's nomination, or a clear Republican front-runner was known, Democrat Hillary Clinton received the support of the NABTU.

"In these times of international strife and uncertainty, our nation needs a leader with the toughness, strength, intelligence and experience to successfully steer the United States through tumultuous waters," said Sean McGarvey, NABTU president. "Here at home, we trust that Secretary Clinton will always do what's best for America's working families."

In June, the General Board of the 12.5 million member AFL-CIO also voted to endorse Secretary Clinton.

"This election offers a stark choice between an unstoppable champion for working families and an unstable charlatan who made his fortune scamming them," said Lee Saunders, chair of the organization's Political Committee. "Working people know that Hillary Clinton has the temperament and experience to unite all Americans in our fight to increase incomes at home and extinghish threats abroad."

The presidential campaign will dominate the headlines over the next five months. As it does, these major union organizations will be campaigning hard for Secretary Clinton, and encouraging union members to do the same.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Building Trades and Oil & Gas: A Pipeline to High-Paying Jobs

For the past few years the East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council has been a strong supporter of the Stark Carroll Oil & Gas Partnership -- and with good reason. Although the oil and gas industry has been experiencing a downturn over the past 12 to 18 months, it remains a source of high-paying jobs for construction workers.

In a recent article on its website, North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) published an article stating that the building of America's energy infrastructure could support 1.15 million new jobs and add an average of $120 billion per year to the nation's GDP.

"The 14 national and international unions that comprise North America’s Building Trades Unions estimate that 50% of our collective membership of over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada are employed in energy-related industries," the article said.

In a statement before the U.S. Senate earlier this year, NABTU President Scott McGarvey emphasized the importance of those numbers, saying it meant workers "are able to provide for their families while receiving union-provided healthcare and pension benefits."

The estimate of 50 percent is a significant jump over just two years ago, when less than 10 percent of oil and gas workers were represented by unions. But, according to a report in USA Today, a shift from out-of-state to local labor led to a rise in union involvement.

The article said anti-fracking groups were dismayed that unions were supportive of drilling activity. "The increasing use of union construction labor has given energy companies a powerful ally as drilling is debated in communities nationwide," the article pointed out. "Many Republicans have been pro-drilling, but now some unions traditionally associated with Democrats are using their political clout to urge politicians to reject bans on pipelines or drilling."

Last year McGarvey reiterated, in a Huffington Post editorial, that the energy boom was responsible for creating new jobs, calling it "a leading contributor to American workers' vaulting out of the unemployment line and into the middle class."

The Building Trades continue to benefit from the ongoing work of the oil and gas industry. It's been a hotbed of opportunity in East Central Ohio, and is expected to rebound and again be a source of job growth between now and 2017.

Visit the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council online at

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Apprenticeship: The Path to a Rewarding, High-Paying Career

A recent op-ed piece in the Seattle Times highlighted the positive impact on earnings that an apprenticeship program can have. Titled "A job in the trades can bring personal, financial success," it was written by Mike Sotelo, president and CEO of the Consolidar Network, a Seattle-based organization that connects employers with the growing Latino workforce.

"A four-year apprenticeship program can equal or exceed the earning potential of a postsecondary degree," he wrote. "But the message we're getting is that if we don't earn a college degree, then we become second tier in the social food chain."

Nothing could be further from the truth, and more voices are needed to highlight the long-term value of apprenticeship programs.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council put the spotlight squarely on that value in an information and recruitment publication we produced in 2013. You can view the publication on our website. Some highlights:

We produced this information/recruitment piece in 2013

  • Funded and operated by America's construction unions, the apprenticeship training we offer is of the highest caliber and is specific our industries, providing exactly what is needed to succeed and qualify for advancement.
  • Learning on the job enables trainees to avoid the college debt trap and graduate to journeyman status with immediate job prospects.
  • As a lifelong process, training ensures a lifetime of employment opportunities anywhere in the country.
  • Apprenticeship training ranges from two to five years, depending on the craft.

Mike Sotelo was exactly right; the path to apprenticeship is the path to a fulfilling, rewarding, and high-paying career. We're always available to answer questions and provide complete details. Contact the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council at (330) 454-3664, or online at

For a report from North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) on construction apprenticeships, click on the link below:

Visit the East Central Ohio Building Trades online at

Friday, May 27, 2016

Your Labor News Roundup

Here's a roundup of labor news of recent note:

Automotive News ran an article, "Tesla case puts plant labor in spotlight," in which it was reported that labor researchers say that weaker union representation in auto plants, projects and expansions raised the likelihood of labor standards going unchecked.

Citylab, published by The Atlantic magazine, ran a story titled, "America's Road to Economic Opportunity Is Paved with Infrastructure Jobs."  It cited a report from the Brookings Institution that revealed how, as poverty and income inequality continue to rise, there's an opportunity in infrastructure, with 3 million jobs opening up in the U.S. in the next decade.

Business Journal Daily, in a story headlined "AFL-CIO Posts Top CEO Pay for Public Companies," reported the union's findings that "the average pay for a CEO in an S&P 500 company was $12.4 million in 2015--335 times more than the average rank-and-file worker was paid."

In "A Win for Project Labor Agreements," ACT Ohio reported on the Ohio Senate's rejection of a proposed ban on PLS, legislation that would have banned state and local governments from requiring use of project labor agreements on state-funded construction projects.

Dissent Magazine ran a powerful piece titled "Right to Work (For Less): By the Numbers." The article provides ample evidence of the significant disadvantages for workers in RTW states, from lower unionization rates to lesser bargaining power to lower wages.

The Boston Globe carried an excellent article, "Moms are making their way into the construction industry," which highlighted the increasing opportunities for women in the construction field. Eight tradeswomen, all of them mothers, shared their stories. An insightful article!

Be sure to like our Facebook page and stay up to date on labor-related news headlines as they're posted!

Visit the East Central Ohio Building Trades online at their website,

Monday, May 16, 2016

Project Labor Agreements: Good for Communities, Good for Developers

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is proud to have been a part of negotiating a Project Labor Agreement with the developers of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village in Canton.

As reported last year in the CantonRepository, “Those involved with Hall of Fame Village have committed to using as much local labor as possible on a development venture expected to draw nearly 3,000 construction jobs to Stark County within four years.”

Construction underway at Benson Stadium. ( photo)
That was good news for local unions. At that time (June 2015), complete details weren’t ironed out, but in the weeks that followed a PLA was signed, sealed and delivered. Former Canton Mayor William Healy was a big proponent of our local labor unions and supported our desire to sign a Project Labor Agreement. Developers on the project include Industrial Realty Group of Los Angeles, with an office in Akron; Welty Building Co. of Akron; Fred Olivieri Construction of Canton; and Motter & Meadows Architects, also of Canton.

As the Repository would later report, Canton City Councilman Frank Morris said that the PLA not only ensures that workers are paid prevailing wages, it protects the local tax base, which is an important revenue stream for the city.

“We will bring this project in on time and under budget, because that’s what we do,” Dave Kirven, president of the East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council and business agent of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 94, told the Repository.

Our colleagues at the Ohio State Building & Construction Trades Council posted on their website that Project Labor Agreements “differ from standard collective bargaining agreements by including all of the parties working on a specific project, not just a single union and contractor.

Indeed, they are a proven way to effectively manage and maintain time schedules and budgets on a project by including all the union parties working on a specific contract. By standardizing labor conditions, PLAs encourage fair competition among contractors.

Not only that, but PLAs provide a pathway to better paying jobs for low-income communities, minorities and veterans. That was the finding of the Industrial Labor Relations School at Cornell University in 2011.

At the time, the late Mark Ayers, former Building & Construction Trades Department president of the AFL-CIO, said, “Not only are PLAs an effective project management tool that delivers ‘on time, on budget’ results…but they are extremely effective at providing job and career training opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities. The bottom line, as exemplified by this report, is that PLAs work.

If you haven’t been by the Pro Football Hall of Fame lately, take a drive down I-77 through Canton and you’ll see the flurry of activity that is taking place there. The first phase of construction on Tom Benson Stadium will be complete in time for the Hall of Fame enshrinement activities this summer. Construction on the entire village project will continue over the next several years, and labor unions in the East Central Ohio region will play an important part in that construction.

Visit the East Central Ohio Building Trades online at

Friday, April 29, 2016

Union Members Collaborate to Help Build Canton's Future

East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades

More than 300 attended the Draft Day Experience
Thursday, April 28, will go down as another milestone date for the building trades unions in East Central Ohio. The inaugural Draft Day Experience took place in Downtown Canton and exceeded all expectations, with more than 300 football fans and Canton enthusiasts packing the ballroom at the McKinley Grand Hotel to watch the first round of the NFL Draft and support the plans for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village.

The event was the brainchild of the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council and particularly our president, Dave Kirven, who also serves as Business Manager for Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 94 in Canton. Dave and his colleagues with the Stark Carroll Oil & Gas Partnership -- including Brodie Haer, Doug Lane, Mike Boyd, Mike Furcolow and Tom Delamater -- began working on the idea in January and put the event together in three months' time. Deb Oberlin of the Holiday Inn in Canton was instrumental in bringing NFL alumni to the event and helped with other planning and logistics. It was truly a team effort.

Anthony Griggs

Dave Kirven (L) visits with

Anthony Griggs, who played for
the Browns and Eagles
Just as important was the involvement and support of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Senior VP Dave Motts met with our committee in early February to offer the Hall's support and discuss how they could be involved. Pete Fierle, Jim Macris, Brian Proud and many others helped open doors and provide memorabilia, publicity and displays to top off the evening and give it the prestige that only the Hall of Fame can offer.

The goal of the event was two-fold: One, to raise funds in support of the Legends Landing, an assisted living residence planned as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village; and two, to position Canton to host the actual NFL Draft in the future. 

Support for the Legends Landing and the Village project is important, said Kirven, because the Hall of Fame and the project developers have signed a project labor agreement that will guarantee union participation in the construction of the facility.

East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades

Fans bid on NFL memorabilia and other
items during our silent and live auctions
A true testament to the collaborative nature of the draft event came from an editorial in the Canton Repository on April 27. Titled "NFL Draft dream still alive," the editorial praised the groups for their work, not only on the Draft Day Experience, but also on the goal of bringing the Draft to Canton.

"These are the types of community partnerships that must be built now if Canton is going to win over the NFL's site selection committee," the editorial stated, before adding: "There's no better way for the NFL to celebrate its 100th season (2019) or its centennial (2020) than by holding its draft in the birthplace of the league and the home of the game's immortals."

We agree, and are grateful to our event sponsors, plus the more than 300 guests -- including a strong showing of union members -- who attended the first of what will be an annual event to celebrate the NFL Draft and our member unions' involvement in the future growth of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Visit the East Central Ohio Building Trades online at