The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) today called on Governor John Kasich to veto House Bill 180, saying the legislation to ban local hiring goals will disproportionately harm African American workers and minority communities while jeopardizing infrastructure projects in Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland.
“Legislation that will soon reach your desk threatens to take away good-paying Ohio jobs that can transform and uplift minority communities across our state,” OLBC President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) wrote in the letter.
The letter noted that African American unemployment remains twice as high as the overall state unemployment rate.
“House Bill 180 was passed with blatant disregard for the realities minorities face in this state when it comes to employment and pursuing a better quality of life. The Department of Transportation’s own disparity report demonstrates that state has historically failed to be inclusive to minority workers,” said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). “The governor should not allow the state to find ways to continue to discriminate against minorities and vulnerable populations. I urge Governor Kasich to veto this bill because it is the right thing to do, especially with the Opportunity Corridor in jeopardy.”
Aside from Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor, HB 180 also jeopardizes the city of Akron’s $1.4 billion sewer and water improvement plan, which currently has a local hiring target of 30 percent that would increase to 50 percent by 2018.
“Facing a $1.4 billion unfunded mandate by the federal government to fix the sewer system, the city of Akron found a creative way to put its people back to work through local hiring benchmarks,” said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “Working people deserve an opportunity to access the economic benefits from projects that are happening in their own communities. There is no reason why local people should be excluded from job opportunities right in their own backyards. This bill effectively outsources good-paying, local jobs.”