State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and John Boccieri (D-Poland) stood up for Ohio’s skilled workers today by voting against the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 152, saying legislation to ban local hiring standards and restrict project labor agreements (PLAs) for public works projects will jeopardize Ohio jobs and destabilize local economies.
Urban areas typically have higher unemployment rates than the national average, making the decision to hire local workers even more impactful for improving the job market in urban areas.
“The language regarding project labor agreements is yet another Republican assault on working people in our state,” Rep. Lepore-Hagan said. “By restricting PLAs, Republicans are undermining wage and benefit levels for women and men employed in the construction industry. For those of us in border cities, that also means losing jobs to surrounding states. We should be focused on growing jobs in Ohio, not sending them out of state. Right in our district, companies like Penn Gaming used private sector PLAs for large-scale projects because they recognize the financial and practical value of having an agreement with their highly skilled workers before a project begins. Professionals know what safety means at the workplace, and they get the job done right the first time, usually under budget.”
Senate Bill 152 initially only addressed Ohio communities’ authority to set local hiring standards on public construction projects before Rep. Ron Hood (R-Asheville) amended the bill to restrict project labor agreements on public construction projects. The legislation now restricts PLAs when any state dollars are used for projects locally. The bill also prohibits communities from requiring local workforce participation rates for projects funded by local governments.
“This legislation is going to outsource Ohio jobs,” Boccieri said. “It's a race to the bottom to find the cheapest, least skilled workers. The outcome will be local skilled workers watching in utter disbelief as out-of-state, unskilled workers take their jobs.”
In 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down state laws prohibiting a public entity from requiring project labor agreements for local projects.