The mainstream media is finally discovering an approach used by Ohio’s union construction industry for the past few years to create a building trades majority in the Statehouse.
A Feb. 25 article in the Columbus Dispatch looked at the fact the building trades are donating money to various Republican candidates, which is viewed as a change from stereotypical norms.
In a state dominated by the Republican Party, the construction trades are trying to form a bipartisan building trades majority through political donations and issue education. The approach used by Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Ohio and their affiliated unions helped to create a building trades friendly legislative and executive branch that has refused to take action on proposed legislation such as So-Called “Right to Work” and the repeal of Prevailing Wage.
Through education, and aided by donations, Ohio has a growing building trades majority, where politicians from both parties have an understanding of the issues important to the state’s highly skilled and highly trained building trades members.
It is also a reason why the building trades have a seat at the table as legislators attempt to fix Ohio’s broken unemployment compensation fund system.
Columbus, and now the media, are beginning to notice how the building trades’ approach has paid off.
According to the Dispatch, in 2017, four of the Republican Party’s top five Political Action Committee donors were unions or groups aligned to support the building trades: Operating Engineers ($502,600), Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Ohio ($264,800), Laborers ($214,750) and Plumbers and Pipefitters ($196,000).
In total, seven of the top 20 PAC donors to Ohio Republicans are from the building trades unions. The trades also donated money to Democrats, but the amount is less than what they donated in total to the GOP.
The Dispatch points out the donations from the trades to Republicans are not a completely new phenomenon, but have increased over the past two years.
Now, the Buckeye State’s building trades unions are positioning themselves to have a say in who is the next Speaker of the House.
Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) raised nearly $222,000 from union PACs, compared to his opponent Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), who received only $20,000.
“They recognize that we share a lot of the same values that those who use their hands and backs every day share,” Householder told the Dispatch. “I see them as part of the Republican Party.”