Leaders from several of Ohio’s regional Building and Construction Trade Councils came together in August to discuss how community investment opportunities can create more jobs for union members.
The event, called the Community Development Roundtable, was sponsored by the AFL Housing Investment Trust and the ERECT Fund. Topics ranged from ways to leverage the investment arm of various Building Trades to how union investments can help spur development and ensure qualified tradesmen are building these projects.
The AFL Housing Investment Trust, the ERECT Fund and other funds offer low-interest debt and/or equity investment options for various construction projects.
These debt/equity investments typically provide better deals for the developer than market standards, while at the same time, provide stable returns for the fund investors.
As part of the finance agreement, the project owner agrees to utilize a Project Labor Agreement, ensuring all construction work is performed by union construction members, which in turn, helps create a cycle where union members are investing in the work completed by fellow union members.
A number of projects throughout Ohio have utilized debt/equity investment funds.
Dave Wondolowski, Executive Secretary and Business Manager of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, said several projects in his jurisdiction have been funded through these investments over the last three decades such as the AT&T building and the Courtyard by Marriot in University Circle were funded in part by the ERECT Fund.