Ohio cities could stop paying prevailing wage to construction workers



COLUMBUS – Local governments could opt out of paying Ohio’s prevailing wage on public construction projects under a new proposal from state Sen. Matt Huffman.

State law requires counties, cities, villages and townships to pay minimum wages and benefits, called prevailing wages, to construction workers on projects exceeding a certain cost.

Huffman plans to introduce a bill next week that would allow jurisdictions to decide whether they pay prevailing wages and for what projects. He said the bill has the support of the Ohio Municipal League and Ohio Association of County Commissioners.

The Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio, which represents Ohio’s skilled trades, opposes the idea.

Executive Director Matt Szollosi said Huffman’s proposal would cause drive more work to out of state contractors who pay their employees less. Szollosi said that would drive down participation in trade apprenticeship programs, are funded with a portion of hourly pay.

“Labor costs are 23 percent of overall costs so the notion that you can elicit significant savings on the labor side by cutting wages and benefits for workers is unfounded,” Szollosi said.

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