The Northwest Ohio Building Trades’ Annual year-end networking event drew a large crowd on Dec. 15 at their current Toledo headquarters.
Many of the region’s building trades leaders and representatives joined NWBT Council Executive Board members, elected officials, community leaders and vendors as they discussed the upcoming construction season and talked about the successes of 2017.
The past year proved to be a busy season as worked wrapped up on several major projects including the ProMedica Downtown Toledo Headquarters and the Oregon Clean Energy Project.
A few of the major 2018 projects include work at a local refinery, construction of a ProMedica hospital tower, the Cleveland Cliffs Hot Briquetted Iron plant and the Clean Energy Future – Oregon natural gas-fired power plant.
With these projects and many other medium and smaller projects scheduled, affiliated members can expect another busy year as they continue to rebuild Northwest Ohio.
Union leaders spoke about the need to organize non-union members and additional non-union contractors, while also working to attract more apprentices.
Legislative talk centered on the House Bill 382, which is aimed at fixing Ohio’s broken Unemployment Compensation Fund. As of mid-December, labor and business had not reached an agreement on how to increase funding and bring fiscal solvency to the ailing fund, which will go broke if there is a mild recession.
Building Trade leaders remained concerned that a loss of benefits will lead to an exodus of skilled workers, when the industry is already facing a lack of manpower.
The passage of House Bill 98 though, may lead to an uptick in apprenticeship recruitment as the bill requires Ohio’s public schools to allow the building trades, among other groups, two opportunities a year to speak to students.
As the busy 2017 comes to an end, those who attended the event agreed journeymen who want to work will have that opportunity next year, and some trades may even seek the help of skilled workers from neighboring Locals to help fill the demand for jobs.