As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I want to use the blog for this week to highlight some item from the Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee.
On November 20, we held out most recent Membership Meeting. City Councilmember Rob Dorans was our speaker for the meeting. In addition to his work on Council, Rob is also Chief Legal Counsel for ActOhio, which is associated with the Columbus Building Trades unions. The organization advocates for quality, safe construction by contractors and skilled craftsmen with integrity. They fight for level competition to ensure the state’s tax dollars are spent properly and strive to educate the public on the importance of fair wages, workforce training, industry regulations, and safety standards. From this work, Rob is a real voice for working people in Columbus.
Councilmember Dorans’ presentation dealt with a number of topics he faces from both of his jobs, including promoting business growth and opportunities for job growth in the City. He discussed the need for more workers in the skilled trades to meet the existing demands as well as the new projects that will come to the area in 2020 and beyond. He also spoke about the need to ensure fair treatment from employer, some of whom try to treat their workers as contractors and not employees. This results in lower wages and a lack of basic protections such as health benefits and Workers Compensation coverage. He is working with other council members to draft meaningful legislation to prevent this practice.
Another of the topics addressed by Councilmember Dorans was the need for better transportation in the City. Workers cannot take the new jobs being created if they have no was to get to them. He discussed a variety of options, including expanded bus lines, increased use of connectors between current lines and the neighborhoods that could provide employees, as well as the efforts of Smart Columbus to improve and modernize local transportation.
Rob’s presentation was very well received by our members and generated a number of questions. We thank him for taking the time to join us.
Our next membership meeting will be February 26 at 8:00 AM. We hope to have representatives from the State Council of Professional Educators, a CALMC member organization that represents teachers in Ohio’s prison and juvenile detention facilities.
It’s been a while since we have mentioned Skinner Diesel Company and their efforts to improve worker health and safety, a process that continues to be successful. They recently passed 2,000 worker days without any injuries or incidents, a significant improvement from their safety record before CALMC introduced the Safety Always process at the facility..
This turnaround in workplace safety is sustained by the ongoing work of the safety committee. This dedicated group keeps an eye on working conditions and practices to help raise awareness of safety among their co-workers. The commitment of business owner Mike Skinner and his support for the safety process has been a major contributor to the improvements that keep the workplace safe.
Unlike other safety programs that produce short term, unsustained results, the improved safety record at Skinner Diesel has continued for over 16 years. As a result, workers have remained safe, the business has added more employees and increased wages and benefits from the savings that have resulted from improved safety.
We are continuing to add to the series of Podcast available on our website. We are currently featuring a series of programs dealing with the career of Eugene Brundige. Gene served as a labor leader, manager, and a neutral at various times during his career, and played a significant role in achieving collective bargaining rights for Ohio public employees.
Shortly before his death, Gene did a presentation about his career which we are using for the podcasts. We hope you will listen to these and our future podcasts.
Are you interested in improving the safety of your workplace or participating in a CALMC meeting or event? Contact us, and we will let you know more about how to get involved.