LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Thursday, there will be a meeting in Warren to talk about granting tax breaks to Trumbull County and adding the requirement that local union construction workers be used in the building process.
This follows a protest Wednesday by local building trades unions, which claims tax breaks should come with jobs.
Thirty members from the area’s building trades unions stood along Route 45 in Lordstown with their rat mascot. They were protesting Old Dominion Trucking’s request for a 10-year, 40% tax abatement on a new terminal planned for the site.
“We’re trying to get the local elected officials to stop cutting us off at the knees and start protecting our work,” said Tony Deley, with the ironworkers union.
The unions have no problems with tax abatements, but feel they should come with a requirement that local union workers be used during construction.
“We had three of our local companies that bid this and they’re bringing in a company from Utah to do the mechanical package. Tell me how that makes any sense when you have tax abatement language in here,” said Marty Loney, with the plumbers and pipefitters union.
A year ago, the building trades unions had the same issues with the TJX project — also being built in Lordstown — where most of the work went to out-of-town companies.
Trumbull County commissioners have the final say on abatements.
“We need to use everything in the toolbox in getting companies to locate here in Trumbull County,” Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said.
He said they’ve asked for the opinion of the Ohio Attorney General on if they can include a union construction jobs requirement in a tax abatement agreement.
Abatements do allow for a jobs provision, but only after construction is finished.
“Can we require a percentage of local labor be used in the construction? We don’t know the answer to that question just yet,” Cantalamessa said.