Ohio Senate rejects House changes to labor-related bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State senators have rejected a proposal that would have prohibited Ohio cities, townships, school districts and public universities from requiring the use of unionized labor on construction projects.

A House committee added the restrictions on project labor agreements to a bill banning local hiring quotas on public construction projects. The measure cleared the House on a 51-42 vote Wednesday, but the Senate rejected the changes.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joe Uecker (EEK’-kur), says the House changes put the bill in jeopardy of being unconstitutional.

Backers say such labor agreements increase the costs of public-works projects. Opponents argue they support local jobs and ensure fair wages.

House Democrats have noted the Ohio Supreme Court struck down laws prohibiting a public entity from requiring project labor agreements for local projects in 2002.