The Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council has launched a campaign at Cleveland State University to expose wrongful employment practices at the school. From the newly minted Protect Cleveland Jobs website:
Cleveland State University is using unfair and unscrupulous practices in building its new, $50 million residential neighborhood community, “Campus Village,” by skirting local and city laws and rules that are intended to employ local Cleveland construction workers.
A press conference has been called for next Tuesday, April 10 at 10:00AM where Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has committed to speaking. Several hundred building trades members are expected at the event which aims to highlight “a deal for non-CSU private entities to build the project and use out-of-state construction workers employed by out-of-state contractors.” Labor officials have noted that in addition to this costing Cleveland residents jobs, it has the dually negative impact of yanking potential tax revenue from the city’s pockets as the city will be unable to tax local workers on their man hours.
The Protect Cleveland Jobs website provides context regarding laws governing local hire and the dire employment situation in the city:
During the second half of 2011, construction employment in Cleveland fell by as much as 6% from month-to-month. CSU construction of Campus Village represents jobs for Clevelanders – which are supposed to be protected by the city’s Fannie Lewis Ordinance.
You can read the Fannie Lewis Ordinance HERE.
Radio and print ads have begun running in and around the area. Quite progressively, the local unions have employed mobile billboards throughout the campus that contain QR codes which link to the Protect Cleveland Jobs website. The labor coalition has also launched a Twitter page: @ProtectClevJobs.
According to email communication with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts (BAC), a non-union contractor, Silver Rule Masonry, is alleged to be sub-contracting work in order to misclassify employees and utilize undocumented workers. If this is true, it takes the issues of worker abuse and lost taxes to another level of impropriety.
We will continue to update this story and report on Tuesday’s press conference.