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!

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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