Based on forecasts, this is shaping up to be not just a big year for the union construction industry in Central Ohio, but a mega-year.
Keyed by several mega projects, including the $20 billion Phase I of the Intel project in New Albany and the $3.5 billion Honda/LG joint venture battery plant in Jeffersonville, 2023 is forecasted to be a record year for a number of Local Unions and regional building trades councils in terms of manhours.
A mega project is defined as a privately funded construction project with a price tag of at least $1 billion.
Throughout the region, there will be plenty of work opportunities for union tradesmen and tradeswomen who want to work. Significant work hours for travelers are also expected.
In 2022, Ohio attracted the most corporate investment in new buildings and equipment in any year since JobsOhio was formed in 2011, according to Columbus Business First. The $30.3 billion in capital projects announced in 2022, tripled the previous record of $9.56 billion set in 2017.
This investment has set the stage for a busy 2023 for members of the Central Ohio building trades.
A 30 percent increase in manhours expected
Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, has three mega projects in his territory – Intel, Honda/LG EV battery plant and the Wexner Medical Tower.
This is in addition to the ongoing construction of datacenter campuses for Facebook, Amazon and Google; an additional new datacenter campus for Amazon, plus other datacenter campuses throughout Central Ohio; the AMGEN biomanufacturing plant; multiple hotels; government and institutional work; projects at The Ohio State University and other new construction work.
Affiliated members of the C/COBCTC logged about 6.75 million manhours in 2021 and just over 9 million manhours in 2022. Hager expects total manhours to increase by about 30 percent in 2023.
“Work should stay like this for at least the next seven years and probably longer,” Hager added.
For Hager, whose jurisdiction is considered one of the hottest construction markets in the U.S., the biggest problem his affiliated unions will face this year is a lack of manpower.
While travelers will help build many projects, more needs to be done.
This means affiliated Local Unions will focus on organizing non-union construction workers and the recruitment of more apprentices.
Based on the location of the Intel plant, there is also a possibility that some affiliated members of the North Central Ohio, Parkersburg-Marietta, East Central and Upper Ohio Valley Building Trades Councils make the commute to Licking County and work on this project.
Conversely, members of the Lima, Greater Cincinnati, Dayton and Tri-State Building and Construction Trades Councils will travel to Fayette County and help construct the Honda/LG EV battery plant.
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