Hager recaps NABTU Legislative Conference and updates projects

Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Dorsey Hager kicked off his May appearance on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast by talking about the NABTU Legislative Conference. 

During the conference, President Biden talked about important topics such as the CHIPS Act and the building trades jobs it created, the National Labor Relations Board and how he is working to make it more pro-union and pro-worker friendly, the Inflation Reduction Act and more. 

Hager told AWF host Ed “Flash”  Ferenc that one of Biden’s first acts when he was elected was pass an Infrastructure Bill, which created thousands of good-paying union jobs for building trades members across the United States.

Dorsey Hager

Dorsey Hager, C/COBCTC Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Hager added that NABTU is doing a lot to help building trades councils around the country recruit and grow their apprenticeship programs, find the funding and implement them like Columbus and Central Ohio did eight years ago. 

“We have to continue to get out in these underserved communities where people maybe don’t know a lot about unions, the building trades or apprenticeships, and let these folks know about these incredible opportunities that are available, especially with all the work and the backlog of work that’s currently there,” Hager said. 

At the conference, Dorsey attended a class called “Respect,” where they discussed apprenticeship readiness programs, apprenticeship programs and areas where improvement is possible for current members. 

“Local Unions are embracing the cultural shift as Local Unions bring in a more diverse population because they see the work available and have an incredible opportunity to grow membership and help everyone in the community better themselves,” Hager said. 

Intel update

Hager recently had his monthly meeting with general contractor Bechtel to get an update on the Intel project. Currently, 1,053 craft workers are on the megaproject jobsite. 

Intel wants to scale up to 2,500 workers by the end of the year. 

Hager said that after adding the parking garage, office building and water treatment plant, there will be anywhere from 9,000 to 10,000 people working on site, not including the infrastructure jobs. 

Intel released a video showing what the facility will look like when the first phase of the project is complete. Hager estimates Phase One will be complete mid-2027. 

Hager is amazed by how much progress is made every couple of weeks when he visits the Intel property.

“It’s incredible how fast and how much gets done out there,” Hager said. “It is just an absolutely awesome facility.” 

The building trades are doing everything to keep up with the manpower demands, like planning outreach events to attract more people and discussing how they can improve training, recruitment and apprenticeship readiness programs. They work with Intel to ensure they have enough people working onsite who are making good wages and benefits. 

Other ongoing projects 

The interview ended with Hager updating Ferenc on the status of other projects in Central Ohio and the importance of safety. 

Hager said he is in constant conversation with Amazon and Google as they continue to expand their datacenter technology. 

Columbus is getting ready to expand its water and wastewater treatment facilities due to the influx and growth of the population. 

America's Workforce Radio Host Ed "Flash" Ferenc

America’s Workforce Radio Host Ed “Flash” Ferenc

Earlier this week, the city of Columbus announced that it is finalizing the budget for a new water treatment facility, which will break ground in late 2025 or early 2026. The budget for this project will be around $1.2 billion. 

“We stay on budget, we stay on time and we get plenty of workers there to make sure that we construct this facility,” Hager said. “We also have workers to maintain the facility after it’s built.”

The C/COBCTC is still negotiating with the Columbus Airport Authority to sign a Community Benefits Agreement for the new terminal project. 

Hager said the majority of the contractors in Central Ohio who can handle a project of that size are going to be union contractors, so the C/COBCTC will still get a lot of work even if there is no agreement. 

Hager said if no agreement is signed by the time the project starts, the C/COBCTC will find the workers who are making non-union wages and give them an opportunity to work onsite at Google, Amazon, Facebook, Honda, Ohio State Medical Center, Intel, Apple or Microsoft so they can earn top wages and benefits for themselves and their families. 

Hager also told Ferenc that the C/COBCTC is doing everything it can to ensure that its workers are trained to work safely and productively. 

“A lot of times, when you’re working safely, you’re finding more efficient methods to get the work done,” Hager said. “That’s what we really stress to our members.” 

The C/COBCTC is adamant that Building Futures students receive training and, eventually, an OSHA safety certification before handling a tool. 

This will ensure they know how to work safely with any tools they are provided and can identify dangers or potential hazards in the workplace. 

“The goal, at the end of the day, is to go home to your family and friends and earn a good living, but also to return home safely without any accidents,” Hager said. 

Listen to the full episode here.

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