The shift in leadership in the Ohio Governor’s Office and the Ohio House of Representatives will result in priority changes in state government that will shift the responsibility from state government back to employees, labor unions their lawyers to enforce prevailing wage law and to promote fair contracting practices in Ohio.
Governor Kasich wants to repeal laws that protect workers from having wages stolen by their employers.
Fortunately, it appears unlikely that there are enough votes in the legislature to repeal Ohio’s law requiring that construction workers on state and local construction jobs be paid the prevailing rate of pay or to repeal Ohio’s voter enacted minimum wage. However it is reasonable to expect that the massive budget deficit in State Government will provide the pretext to dramatically reduce the already limited resources being devoted to the enforcement of laws designed to provide for fair wages for Ohio Workers.
Over the next four years it appears that the responsibility for protecting the wage rights of workers will shift to the Construction Trade Unions, who have standing to enforce prevailing wage laws and the private bar who can bring actions to enforce both the prevailing wage , minimum wage and overtime laws that provide a safety net to working class ohioans.
Strategies to protect workers include:
Working with Local Governments to enact Fair Contracting Ordinances that make sure that local contractors pay workers the correct wages, maintain strong safety and environmental practices (including providing worker’s compensation coverage to workers) pay taxes, hire Ohio Workers.
Working with Unions to File Prevailing Wage Lawsuits and “Interested Parties” under Ohio law.
Opening up access to lawyers for low wage workers who have been victims of wage theft.
Educating workers about their right to minimum and prevailing wages and overtime pay over 40 hours of work.
More information about efforts to protect workers in Ohio’s new political environment can be found at: