Hager discusses Columbus School Board, Columbus airport and other projects on pro-union podcast

Dorsey Hager, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer, appeared on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast on June 7. 

Hager kicked the interview off by discussing the Columbus School Board and its plans to close underperforming schools. This is making the Central Ohio community nervous, as they don’t want their neighborhood schools to close.

Dorsey Hager

Dorsey Hager, C/COBCTC Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Brandon Simmons, a new school board member, wrote a memo called Taking Control of the Task Force Narrative, where he claims the school board feels like they are at war with the teachers union (CEA). He also suggested different ways the board can attack CEA President John Caniglio and other union members. 

“He talks about driving a wedge between not only the unions and the union leadership but also the union members, the CEA, which represents the teachers and the CESA, which represents service employees,” Hager said. 

The memo has reached labor leaders and elected officials. Coniglio released a statement calling for Simmons to resign. Columbus City Council President Pro Tem, and IBEW 683 member, Rob Dorans has also called for Simmons to resign. 

“I just hope they go about this in a good way,” Hager said. “I know the goal is to save money because the last thing they want to do is come back to the taxpayers for another levy. But also, with all the growth that’s coming to Columbus and Central Ohio, I think The Columbus City Schools is gonna turn up and I think the population is going to go back up.”

Columbus Airport update 

Hager also told AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc that nothing positive has come out of talks related to the $2 billion John Glenn Columbus International Airport expansion project. 

Airport CEO Joe Nardone is still working with Hensel Phelps, an out-of-state contractor who has faced accusations of wage theft and manipulation of a federal subcontract designated for a business owned and operated by disabled veterans in previous projects across different states.

Hensel Phelps still refuses to sign a Community Benefits Agreement for the project. A CBA would help ensure that more workers are from the community and receive fair wages and benefits, and in exchange, the community would publicly support the project. 

America's Workforce Radio Host Ed "Flash" Ferenc

America’s Workforce Radio Host Ed “Flash” Ferenc

Hager said a small committee has assembled that will discuss the C/COBCTC’s strategy moving forward, including possible job actions, pickets, handbills and other options the C/COBCTC can do to make sure they educate the public about what is happening.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is hosting the Council of Mayors in a few weeks, and the mayors who fly in for this event will wonder why there is a picket line at the airport. 

“It’s going to be unfortunate for our city when we have so much positive and so much good happening,” Hager said. “And we have this CEO that is trying to undermine all that’s good here in Columbus and Central Ohio, in the spirit of greed.”

Ongoing projects update

After providing the update on the airport project, Hager gave a brief update about the Intel megaproject and other projects.

“We’re right in the thick of this $28 billion initial investment of the first phase and the first couple of fabs, so we are really excited,” Hager said. 

According to Hager, Intel will build eight fabs in four phases for around $100 billion, which will take between 18 and 25 years. 

Numerous datacenters are also in the midst of construction around Central Ohio campuses, with even more work to follow. 

Recently, 521 acres south of Marysville were purchased and rezoned. The C/COBCTC is still unsure if this purchase is tied to Honda, Amazon, Facebook or a new company. 

“The good thing is, people are still acquiring land and looking at developing it,” Hager said. “There’s still a lot of projects that are on the horizon that are coming down the pike.” 

Because of all the work, Hager and affiliated members of the C/COBCTC continue to recruit new members and educate middle and high school students about the tremendous opportunities in the building trades.

Listen to the full interview here

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