Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, made his monthly appearance on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and provided updates on both the $20 billion Intel semiconductor plant being built in New Albany and the $4 billion Honda/LG electric vehicle battery plant under construction in Fayette County.
Work on the Intel plants, or fabs, is moving in the right direction, Hager told AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc on the Dec. 2 podcast. The project is on schedule for structural work to begin in early 2023. Hager is actively working with building trades unions to help recruit the union construction workforce needed for the project. He anticipates there will be about 6,000 union construction workers onsite by mid-summer.
The project has dealt with supply chain issues and the unpredictability of the weather, but they are making progress, he said. Bechtel will be the general contractor for the first $20 billion leg of the project, he added.
New federal regulations added a specific type of limestone to the concrete mix, which increased the price of concrete by 35 percent and slowed many projects in Ohio, including the Intel fabs, Hager said.
He then discussed other construction coming to Central Ohio due to the Intel plant, including a deal in the final stages to build 30 hotels in Licking County, he said.
PLA signed for $4 billion Honda/LG EV battery plant
Hager also provided an update on the $4 billion Honda/LG electric vehicle (EV) battery plant under construction in Jeffersonville. A Project Labor Agreement was signed and sitework began in November. An official groundbreaking is planned for early in 2023. The new joint venture plant is scheduled to mass-produce commercial batteries on-site by the summer of 2024. The project will create 4,300 to 5,500 jobs for union construction workers.
Driving Futures and Building Futures expected growth
Thanks to these massive projects, which are part of the overall Central Ohio construction boom, Hager feels there are amazing opportunities available for men and women to enter either an Apprenticeship Readiness Program or a registered apprenticeship. He believes apprentices can look forward to 20 to 25 years of steady work and once they become a journeyman, earn between $75,000 and $175,000 per year.
As such, he hopes the Driving Futures and Building Futures ARPs will each grow by more than 100 percent in the upcoming year, helping members of the underserved communities gain employment in the union construction industry and put themselves on a pathway to the middle class.