Ohio House panel OKs bill striking labor hiring mandate

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio cities, townships, school districts and public universities could no longer require the use of local unionized labor on construction projects under a bill set for an Ohio House vote.

A House committee approved restrictions on project labor agreements Tuesday after adding them to a bill banning local hiring quotas on public construction projects. A floor vote is scheduled Wednesday.

The bill’s fate is uncertain. Two attempts earlier this session to pass similar language were unsuccessful.

Proponents say such agreements increase the costs of public-works projects. Opponents argue they support local jobs.

In criticizing Tuesday’s action, House Democrats noted the Ohio Supreme Court struck down laws prohibiting a public entity from requiring project labor agreements for local projects in 2002.