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Build 513 Petition Urges Commissioners to “Release the Funds” for Metropolitan Sewer Project

Responsible Bidder Ordinance Holds All Contractors Accountable for Apprenticeship Training that Helps Build a Skilled, Safe Workforce

Washington, D.C. (January 31, 2014) – With Cincinnati taxpayers now in jeopardy of paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines this month due to the Hamilton County Commission’s delays of the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) project, the Build 513 coalition of worker and community allies has launched a letter telling Commissioners to “let the work begin.” City Councilman Charlie Winburn recently warned that the federal government could impose a $1,500 fine every day the County fails to release the funds beginning on February 1st.

By delaying the project, the county is doing the bidding of contractors funding corporate-front group Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), which held political fundraisers for Commissioner Chris Monzel and others who promised to insure the city’s MSD laws “fail.” As the Build 513 letter points out, the Responsible Bidder Ordinance, recently upheld by the City Council, is a “good law, holding all contractors accountable for apprenticeship training that helps build a skilled, safe workforce.”

“All we ask is that those who take our taxes, train our workers,” the letter reads. The city's ordinance is open to all contractors, union and non-union alike, that graduate just a single person from a proven apprenticeship program. Even ABC admits that a number of "non-union apprenticeship programs qualify." Commissioners recent resolution, ceasing implementation” of the ordinance, is a step backward for ratepayers who demand results.

Dozens of cities and states have turned to responsible bidder ordinances to complete projects on time and on budget. The ordinance’s training requirements, coupled with fair compensation, can end up saving taxpayer dollars, according to the National Employment Law Project. Since the ordinance was enacted in Cincinnati, seven contracts with bids that beat the original estimates have already been awarded, according to City Councilman Chris Seelbach.

“The time for political turf battles is over,” the letter continues. “Cincinnati's working men and women urge you to release the funds for the Metropolitan Sewer District now so clean water and good jobs will flow into our community. These projects are critical to keeping our rivers clean and our communities healthy.”

Voters can sign the letter by visiting the online petition at bit.ly/lettheworkbegin. The full text of the letter follows:

Stop Dragging Taxpayers into the Sewer

Dear Commissioners, 

Cincinnati's working men and women urge you to release the funds for the Metropolitan Sewer District now so clean water and good jobs will flow into our community. These projects are critical to keeping our rivers clean and our communities healthy.

Now that our City Council has upheld Cincinnati's Responsible Bidder Ordinance, the time for political turf battles is over. The current ordinance is a good law, holding all contractors accountable for apprenticeship training that helps build a skilled, safe workforce. The County's resolution, "ceasing implementation" of the ordinance, is a step backward for ratepayers who demand results, not unenforceable promises. The City's ordinance endorses a standard of excellence, which should not be discarded for the benefit of a few contractors who fear it.

All we ask is that those who take our taxes, train our workers. The city's ordinance is open to all contractors, union and non-union alike, that graduate just a single person from a proven apprenticeship program. Even Associated Builders and Contractors admits that a number of "non-union apprenticeship programs qualify." These training requirements, coupled with fair compensation, can end up saving taxpayer dollars, according to the National Employment Law Project.

Dozens of cities and states have turned to responsible bidder ordinances to complete projects on time and on budget. Those who want to undo them are just doing the bidding of unscrupulous contractors such as those funding the ABC. ABC's mission is to drive down wages and training standards in order to increase their profits no matter if it burdens ratepayers with costly fines and rate hikes and threatens our water.

We urge you to put aside threats of frivolous litigation and release the funds now and let the work begin. 

Sincerely, 
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

 

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