Among the appeals recently rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court, a split majority led by Chief Justice Eric Brown has scuttled an attempt by the anti-unionist Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio (ABC) to upend an Ohio School Facilities Commission contract including a project labor agreement (PLA), a form of wage guarantee that the open-shop advocate calls “illegal.”
ABC joined Enertech Electrical, Inc. in filing the lawsuit against the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) and the Ashtabula Area School District Board of Education, whose prevailing wage resolution plaintiffs say violates the intent of the Legislature for school construction under R.C. 4115.04(B)(3). Former state Rep. Bryan Williams, director of government affairs for ABC, has assumed a prominent role in the dispute with OSFC and its director, Richard Murray.
A divided Court refused to hear the case last week, putting Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Maureen O’Connor and Terrence O’Donnell on the losing side of the decision.
Since then, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has joined the founder of the Mansfield North Central Ohio Tea Party and several Richland County taxpayers in suing the governor, Murray, OSFC, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), and others. They claim that union influence over publicly funded school construction constitutes a violation of the state’s racketeer influenced corrupt organization (RICO) laws.