With the stroke of his pen, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther signed a historic agreement with the region’s building trades.
Now, the city and Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council will partner together to ensure a some of the work to construct Columbus Fire Station No. 35 is performed by residents of Columbus, Franklin County and other contiguous counties.
It also requires the C/COBCTC to host apprenticeship-recruitment fairs and to charge its members 5-cents per hour worked on the project, to be deposited into a scholarship fund for apprenticeship programs.
“This agreement includes many firsts for our city, all built on my commitment to expanding Columbus’ success to every person in every neighborhood,” said Ginther. “This agreement offers the City and its residents many benefits.”
The benefits include ensuring only highly trained and highly skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen build the first new fire station in Columbus since 2003.
The residency requirements will ensure people paying for this project will have a fair chance to work on it.
The CBA will eliminate project delays due to labor lockouts or dispute and help to ensure the $8 million building is constructed on time and on or under budget.
The new fire station will be built on North Waggoner Road between Chapel Stone Road and Waggoner Grove Boulevard on the Far East Side. Work on the 22,000 square foot facility is set to begin in May 2018.
Perhaps most importantly, the historic agreement will offer job recruitment fairs, which will lead to apprenticeship opportunities for the city’s minority, female and low-income residents.
“Columbus is America’s opportunity city and the signing and implementation of this Community Benefit Agreement represents an enormous opportunity for both the Building Trades and the City,” said Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary and Business Manager of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council. “The Building Trades has led and will continue to lead the charge to expand the number of skilled craftspeople in Central Ohio and diversification of our workforce.”
Hager discussed how apprenticeships offer a direct path for people to live a middle class lifestyle.
Apprenticeships with C/COBCTC affiliated unions offer men and women, regardless of race or gender, the opportunity to earn while they learn. This means they receive on-the-job training in addition to classroom instruction, as apprentices hone their skills on the path to becoming journeymen. As apprentices, they earn a livable wage, with pay increases each year, and immediately receive health and retirement benefits.
Each union signing the CBA will create and implement a diversity and inclusion plan that is specific and measurable.
During the Oct. 31 press conference, Ginther said the CBA will also establish a Community and Workforce Committee made up of representatives from the city, building trades and organizations dedicated to the advancement of minorities, women and low-income residents, to monitor the progress being made.
“82 percent of all registered apprentices are in union affiliated programs; we are the ones doing the training. We are the ones addressing the need for more skilled tradesmen and women. We are the ones providing career opportunities for everyone in our neighborhoods, our city, our state,” said Hager.
The CBA will also establish a fund to support the mission of the committee and to offer scholarships for Columbus residents to enroll in apprenticeship programs.
Five-cents from every hour worked on the fire station construction will go into the fund, which also received $50,000 in seed money from the city.
Ginther announced the city was contributing $166,500 to the Columbus City Schools to fund tool and safety kits, as well as materials for the construction of classrooms, where middle and high school students can learn the basic skills needed to enter an apprenticeship.
“The CBA is a pilot initiative,” said Ginther. “We choose Fire Station No. 35 because it is the right-size project for this program. The committee will be able to evaluate and adjust for future Community Benefit Agreements.”
“This CBA represents a partnership – a partnership between the City of Columbus and the Building Trades,” said Hager. “This partnership will provide the city highly trained, local, skilled tradesmen and women who will complete this project safely, on time and under budget while creating career opportunities in the building trades.”