Media Taking Notice of Building Trades Majority Approach

A recent article in The Columbus Dispatch discusses the building trades approach to create a building trades majority in the Statehouse.

The Feb. 25 article discusses how the building trades have changed from the stereotypical norm of donating to various Democrats and now donate money to various Republican candidates in an attempt to form a bipartisan building trades majority. The trades still donate to democrats, but the amount is less than what they donated in total to the GOP, The Dispatch reported.

The approach has proven successful so far, as Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Ohio and their affiliated unions have 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. 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.

Through education, and aided by donations, Ohio has a growing building trades majority, where politicians have an understanding of the issues important to the state’s highly skilled and highly trained building trades members.

According to The Dispatch, in 2017, four of the Republican Party’s top five political action committee donors were construction 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 Republicans are from the building trades unions.

NABTU President Sean McGarvey

NABTU President Sean McGarvey

Donations from Ohio building trades to Republicans are not a new phenomenon, but have increased over the past two years and coincide with recognition from North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey during the 2016 NABTU Legislative Conference.

In his keynote speech that year, McGarvey used Ohio as an example to all delegates when discussing a bipartisan approach. He told attendees they must work to create a bipartisan political building trades majority at the federal and state levels.

Two years later, the Buckeye State’s building trades unions are positioning themselves to have a say in who is the next Speaker of the House, as 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.”

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