According to the Columbus Dispatch, unions experienced another setback yesterday when the Ohio School Facilities Commission repealed the policy giving organized labor the upper hand in school construction projects. The new policies will even the playing field and allow the market to more fairly dictate which companies get jobs. The commission will not look at contracts specifying labor groups, required wages, and other mandates.
Last fall, amidst several rather egregious examples of union favoritism, the Buckeye Institute weighed in on the matter with “School Building Projects: Rewarding Special Interests at the Expense of Students, Teachers, and Taxpayers.” Using union labor drives up the cost of school construction projects. Ohio’s 613 school districts, which are projected to experience an aggregate $7.6 billion budget by 2015, cannot afford to spend more than necessary building and upgrading facilities. The taxpayers can’t afford it either.
Kudos to the new Ohio School Facilities Commission for putting taxpayers, students, and teachers above the demands of organized labor. Yes, some previously protected special interest groups will lose out, but everyone else wins. If union shops want to survive and continue to work on school projects, they must find ways to compete on the basis of price in Ohio’s new economic normal.