Sam Allard / Scene
Dan O'Malley and Nan Whaley, (left and right of the lectern, respectively), with local union representatives at the North Shore AFL-CIO, (9/12/22).
Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley said that if she wins in November, she'd work to create 17,000 jobs in her first term by investing in apprenticeship readiness programs across the state.
In a roundtable conversation with Northeast Ohio union representatives at the North Shore AFL-CIO Monday morning, Whaley explained her "One Good Job" pledge, which her campaign unveiled last week
. The premise of that pledge is that wages across the state are so low that many Ohioans are forced to work multiple jobs to get by.
Her plan focuses largely on the building and construction trades, especially with the enormous Intel project on the horizon, but Whaley said that Ohio is a diverse state, with a variety of apprenticeship readiness programs in different sectors in different regions. The point, she said, is that these programs allow folks to get into apprenticeships, where they "work as they learn," and puts them on the path to the middle class.
"While the DeWine Administration has focused all of its economic development efforts on big ribbon cuttings (almost exclusively in the Columbus area)," the One Good Job pledge reads
, "Nan will be focused on bringing economic opportunity to every corner of the state, giving Ohioans the opportunity to do meaningful work in their communities."
Whaley said she wants to ensure that Ohio is growing its own talent and investing in worker pipelines. To that end, she wants to invest $65 million from the federal infrastructure bill into apprenticeship readiness programs, like Cleveland Builds
. She said she would also require that all Ohio construction projects over $10 million have Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) in place, to ensure that taxpayer funded projects pay a living wage.
Even before the announcement of the Intel project — and the need for 7,000 construction workers
— Whaley said the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has estimated that there will be roughly 22,000 openings in the construction industry alone in the coming years. These vacancies have been accelerated by retirements in the skilled trades.
"This is just a common-sense approach to make sure we have good-paying union jobs in the state," she said of the pledge. "Our commitment is, if you're willing to work hard, we should have a job for you."
Whaley, whose father was an ironworker and a United Auto Worker, has been a vocal supporter of organized labor as the mayor of Dayton and as a candidate for governor. Dan O'Malley, North Shore AFL-CIO's Executive Secretary, noted Whaley's support in 2011 in the statewide campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5, which would have restricted the collective bargaining power of Ohio's public employees. O'Malley also noted that Whaley launched her campaign with a workers' bill of rights.
Whaley referenced the worker bill of rights and said that her campaign is about putting workers first.
"Any policy we put forward," Whaley said Monday, "we always look to the Workers Bill of Rights, to really say that this is what we're about. And that's about putting good-paying jobs not just in Columbus, but across the state, and ensuring that when we invest in companies, those are companies with jobs that provide for a family."
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