Ohio’s 8th District Court of Appeals ruled House Bill 180, which banned residency requirements on public construction projects, as unconstitutional.
The ruling upheld a Cleveland residency law that requires contractors who successfully bid on certain public construction projects within the city, to guarantee 20 percent of the hours worked must be performed by Cleveland residents, and 4 percent of that 20 percent must be allocated for low-income Cleveland residents.
By striking down H.B. 180, the court has granted chartered municipalities the right to enforce hiring requirements on certain publicly-funded construction projects. This means cities such as Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati can require contractors hire a designated percentage of their residents to work on certain construction projects.
The ruling is good news for members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 24.
The City of Columbus and the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council signed a historic Community Benefits Agreement. Within the CBA is a residency requirement for the construction of Fire Station No. 35, which ensures C/COBCTC members, including SMW Local 24 members, who live and pay taxes in the City of Columbus will have a fair chance to work on this project.
Cincinnati and Dayton, which over the past two years have both passed a number of pro-labor laws, now have legal clarity should they want to implement their own residency requirements to put their residents to work.
In the decision, Judge Sean C. Gallagher, Jr. wrote, “H.B. 180 was not advanced by a labor or worker group. It was advanced by a contractor association, not for the benefit of workers, but to benefit their interests. The contractors’ interest is in streamlining contract interactions with municipalities by limiting the ability of municipal governments to place terms or requirements on public contracts that are awarded within those municipal jurisdictions.”
H.B. 180 was signed into law in May 2016 and the day before it took effect, the City of Cleveland won a temporary restraining order against it on Aug. 30. Since then, the bill worked its way through the court system, up to the 8th District Court of Appeals.
A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office did not know if the ruling would be appealed to Ohio’s Supreme Court.