Unions need to grow to meet strong job demand
The 2022 forecast for construction work in Central Ohio looks strong, as the region will continue to be one of the nation’s hotbeds.
Despite supply chain shortages and manpower issues, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Dorsey Hager is expecting a booming year.
Some projects in Ohio, including several within the C/COBCTC jurisdiction, slowed last year due to a lack of materials. Contractors were affected by shortages in steel, electrical parts, roofing material, brick, drywall, paint and other items. As a result, some projects were pushed back, but in many instances, contractors simply adjusted schedules to accommodate material delays.
This is good news, because as long as materials are available, there will be no shortage of work opportunities in the greater Columbus area.
Hager said there is more than enough work in his jurisdiction, as there are several projects topping the $1 billion mark, and others well into nine figures.
Prominent Central Ohio projects that will log major work hours for 2022 include the Amgen biotech plant, three Amazon datacenters, a Google datacenter, the Wexner Medical Tower, various projects on The Ohio State University campus, other smaller datacenters and solar field work.
The problem is not a lack of jobs, but a shortage of manpower, Hager said. Affiliated tradesmen and tradeswomen logged about 6.7 million manhours in 2021 — about the same as 2020, he noted. Hager expects similar numbers for 2022, but knows manhours could increase if Locals can increase their membership.
“All the trades have been crazy busy,” he said. “Our issue is not the work, but the people needed to perform the work. We need apprentices and journeymen.”
Hager recognizes all C/COBCTC affiliated Locals need to increase their membership, but he acknowledges recruitment is challenging right now.
“Nearly all of our trades are doing what they can to grow,” he added.
With a busy 2022 ahead, anyone looking to join the union construction industry is urged to contact the Local they are interested in joining