Dorsey Hager gives updates on the John Glenn Columbus International Airport project on AWF

Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Dorsey Hager joined Ed “Flash” Ferenc on America’s Work Force Union Podcast and talked about the out-of-town construction manager who refuses to sign a Community Benefits Agreement for the John Glenn Columbus International Airport project. 

Hager said he thought Columbus Airport CEO Joe Nardone understood why a Community Benefits Agreement for the project is necessary, but he refused to come to an agreement. 

After many attempts to reach a negotiation, Hensel Phelps, the out-of-state contractor hired for the project, let it be known they wanted to reserve the right to bring in out-of-town workers for parts of the project.

Dorsey Hager

Dorsey Hager, C/COBCTC Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Hager and the leaders of the unions affiliated with the C/COBCTC would not agree to that. Hensel Phelps’ proposal also does not include goals for the hiring of minorities or women.

Hensel Phelps announced they were severing negotiations with the Columbus Building Trades after more than a year and a half of negotiations. 

Hager and three other members of the building trades spoke during the CRAA Board of Directors Meeting on Jan. 30 to explain to the board why a CBA for the project is critical.

Dorsey along with IBEW Local 683 member Jahaan Harris, Laborers Local 423 member Sara McEnergy-Guice and Creating Central Ohio Futures CEO Leland Bass spoke about the harm that not having a Community Benefits Agreement on the project can do for the communities of Central Ohio. 

Harris also highlighted several cases from around the country where Hensel Phelps failed to pay workers the proper wages on previous projects.

McEnergy-Guice spoke about how the C/COBCTC hires and helps individuals from underserved communities and how not having a CBA on the project will keep some minorities from underserved communities from working on the project. 

Bass spoke about how if out-of-state workers are brought in and are paid poor wages with no healthcare benefits, the graduates of the award-winning Building Futures program will not be able to work on the project. 

America's Workforce Radio Host Ed "Flash" Ferenc

America’s Workforce Radio Host Ed “Flash” Ferenc

“This is about advocating for local workers and getting local contractors on the project getting equal wages and benefits,” Hager said. 

Hager added that he wants to know if Hensel Phelps was vetted and if the CRAA was aware of the judgments against Hensel Phelps.

“It’s bad enough to bring in an out-of-town contractor who wants to bring in out-of-town workers,” Hager said. “But they are not going to have any enforcement mechanism to ensure that they will pay workers correctly and they have a proven track record around the country that they have not enforced what they said they are going to do.” 

Hager also talked about the relationships – good and bad – he has with general contractors and general managers and how they are all upset and angry they were not given an opportunity to be awarded this project.

“A lot of contractors are upset that this local entity that is appointed by local elected leaders who many of us voted for and supported, went outside of the state and the region to hire a contractor to oversee this project,” Hager said. 

For the CRAA to go to a company based out of Colorado when we have a large community that has proved we can handle projects of this size feels like a slap in the face to all Central Ohio building trade members, Hager added. 

Listen to the full AWF interview here

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