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Lawmakers Start Latest Effort Against Ohio's Prevailing Wage Law

construction workers
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Two Republican state representatives are introducing the latest legislation seeking to weaken Ohio’s prevailing wage law.

Since 1931, Ohio has had a law mandating trade workers on certain state and local projects receive hourly wages and benefits in line with local union contracts, even if they're not part of a union.

Two Republican lawmakers, state Reps. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) and Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield), want to ban the mandate that local governments, universities and others pay the prevailing wage, saying doing so will lower the cost of construction projects.

Their bill would change Ohio law to allow “political subdivisions, special districts, and state institutions of higher education to elect to apply the Prevailing Wage Law.”

This isn’t the first-time lawmakers have tried to change the law. There were three efforts to eliminate the prevailing wage requirement in the last General Assembly, but none passed out of committee.

Trade unions have vehemently opposed those bills. In this General Assembly, unions and Democrats who backed new Republican House Speaker Larry Householder could have a strong say in the matter.

Riedel told Cleveland.com that “the odds probably are not real good that we’re going to have a lot of success with this in this particular General Assembly.”

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.