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Costly Delay of Critical Jobs Bankrolled by Anti-Worker Interest Group

From Inside the ABC

Hundreds of Cincinnati workers are ready to get started on the city’s Metropolitan Sewer District as soon as the funds are released. But instead of actually training local workers to get the job done, county politicians are stalling the project, risking costly fines, based on some ABC-funded crusade to let some low-road contractors break their promise to the communities that help make these projects possible.

Accredited training programs are the key to helping Cincinnati workers get started on long-term careers. The County’s own resolution endorses workforce development programs as a goal. Yet, the commissioners slipped in a parlor trick attempt at “ceasing implementation” of the very Responsible Bidder Ordinance that the city recently upheld to hold all contractors accountable for results.

The city’s ordinance levels the playing field for union and non-union contractors alike. Aside from some certified small business subcontractors that are exempt, all the city is merely asking of its contractors is to graduate a single person in a given field from a proven apprenticeship program. ABC even admits a number of “non-union apprenticeship programs qualify.” But for contractors who fall short, the ordinance still allows them to partner up with a more successful program.

Dozens of cities and states have turned to responsible bidder ordinances with great success. Under the ordinance, seven MSD contracts were already awarded with bids that beat original estimates. Coupled with fair compensation, these training requirements can help taxpayers save money, according to the National Employment Law Project.

So there is no excuse for further delay. By continuing to do ABC’s bidding, County Commissioners are now putting the city’s taxpayers is in danger of costly fines for failing to meet Environmental Protection Agency deadlines at the end of this month. That’s a risk Cincinnati can’t afford.

The City Council has shown great courage in standing up against the corporate interests who have picked this fight. And if they keep it up, future MSD workers will be the ones standing up for Cincinnati.