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Building Trades, Ohio State Rep Hold Press Event for Prevailing Wages, Local Hire at CSU

Building Trades unions have been protesting at Cleveland State University, demanding that more local hiring be done and that prevailing wages be honored on the school’s new $50 million “Campus Village” residential project. As we reported earlier this month, labor leaders from the construction industry want the project to be built according to the “Fannie Lewis Ordinance” despite it being privately funded (only publicly funded projects are necessarily subject to the law). Fannie Lewis requires at least 20 percent of the work force to be made up of Cleveland residents and four percent of the workforce to be “low-income.”

Last week, U.S. Rep. Marica Fudge joined construction unions in calling for local hire and union workers at a press event:

“They may not be out of compliance with the letter of the law, but they are certainly out of compliance with the spirit of the law,” Fudge, a Democrat from Warrensville Heights, said at the protest rally, in a lot at Payne Avenue and East 24th Street.

“This is a Cleveland project, and we need Cleveland workers.”

“We need our union people,” she said, as the crowd of about 200 cheered. “We need our skilled laborers. We need our women and minorities, so that we can have a job and feed our families just like all the people they’re bringing here from all the other places.”

Voluntarily adopting the Fannie Lewis Ordinance local hire standards is a quite precedented move in the area. In this case, however, it may be too late to turn that corner:

City Hall has said it is probably too late to change hiring for Campus Village, because contracts have already been awarded. To prevent another major project from being launched without a hiring commitment, the Jackson administration has met with developers with projects in the works.

After the protest rally, attendees braved the rain to distribute flyers on the Cleveland State Campus. Ensuring that, at the very least, future jobs go to local workers is all that may be left for Rep. Fudge and the Building Trades at CSU.


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