More than 4,000 jobs were saved on July 23, when Ohio lawmakers passed House Bill 6.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the legislation to enact the law to create the Ohio Clean Air Program and to subsidize the operation of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and Perry Nuclear Power Plants, which will also save more good-paying jobs related to the plants and secondary jobs to support the plants and their employees.
“The passage of the bill means securing thousands of good paying jobs for members of Local 310 and the Cleveland Building Trades,” said Laborers’ Local 310 Business Manager and President of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council Terry Joyce.
“I was ecstatic when I heard the news,” said IBEW Local 673 Business Manager Dave Phillips. “It’s not only about the hours our members work at the plant, but the other jobs that go with the plant.”
Earlier this year, First Energy Corp. threatened to shut down Perry and Davis-Besse unless the state subsidized operations of those facilities. Now, with the passage of H.B. 6, that threat has been laid to rest.
“The vote was a considerable relief and lifted a ton of weight off my chest,” Phillips said. “Our members got out and talked to politicians and told them the job of their dad, brother, husband, cousin or whoever was at stake.”
For members of Local 673, the legislation represents job security and allows their members to continue to live their normal lives.
The same can also be said of the people who work in the two plants and those who live in Lake and Ottawa counties and perform secondary jobs to support the plant and their employees.
For members of Local 673, who have seen major industrial employers leave the jurisdiction over the years, the loss of Perry Nuclear Power Plant would have been devastating. Now, members will be able to work close to home during the regular outages.
“When there is an outage, we have about 150 guys working out there earning a family supporting wage package,” Phillips said. “If the plant closed, we would lose those jobs and the jobs of our members who work there full-time. It would shrink our local membership base and contractors would be hesitant about future work.”
Despite missing two crucial deadlines to pass the legislation, lawmakers were able to pass the bill and provide job certainty to more than 4,000 Ohioans.
The passage of H.B. 6 was due in part to the building trades coalition at the statehouse.
For nearly a decade, the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council has worked to form a building trades majority in the Senate and the House. Local union and District Councils have invited legislators to tour training centers and provided additional education regarding the union construction industry and issues important to it.
“We have turned into a bi-partisan organization,” Phillips said. “I’ve been in the Local for over 20 years and for the most part we were predominately Democrat. Now, we educate elected officials on both sides of the aisle and support those who support us.”