Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not 'business friendly' - Post #12: deeds requiring union workers forever

Councilman Frank Szollosi introduced an ordinance at last night's city council meeting that would require all work done at the Marina District to be performed by union workers - FOREVER. And to ensure the union labor, he formulated it into a restrictive covenant on the deed to transfer the property so that it applies to Larry Dillin, the developer, and all successors, heirs and assigns.

Here's the actual language:

ORD. 376-08

Authorizing and directing the Mayor to add a Restrictive Covenant to the deed conveying City owned property concerning the Marina District project to Dillin Riverfront Properties, Inc. requiring the use of unionized workforce for any and all construction and development on this property forever by Dillin Riverfront Properties, Inc. and any successors; and declaring an emergency.

Ord. 307-08, passed by City Council on May 20, 2008, authorizes the City to convey title to its property in the area along the Maumee River between Marina Drive and Main Street to Dillin Riverfront Properties, Inc. to be improved in accordance with the Master Plan. The Marina District project will have a beneficial effect on the economy of the City of Toledo in terms of jobs, investment, revitalization of a former brownfield and other positive effects.

City Council desires to add a Restrictive Covenant to the deed requiring Dillin Riverfront Properties, Inc. and any successors to use unionized workforce for any and all construction and development on this property forever. NOW, THEREFORE,

Be it ordained by the Council of the City of Toledo:

SECTION 1. That the Mayor is hereby authorized and directed to add a Restrictive Covenant to the deed conveying City owned property to Dillin Riverfront Properties, Inc. for the revitalization of the area along the Maumee River between Marina Drive and Main Street with respect to the development of the Marina District project.

SECTION 2. That the Restrictive Covenant shall require Dillin Riverfront Properties, Inc. to promise to use unionized workforce for any and all construction, reconstruction, enlargement, alteration, renovation, or development of or on all or any part of the land covered by this deed. This Restrictive Covenant shall apply to Dillin Riverfront Properties, Inc., heirs, successors, and assigns forever.

As we discussed on Eye On Toledo last night, (podcast of June 16 show), only 15% of Ohio's 2007 wage and salary workers are represented by a union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even if - and it's a big if - Toledo has triple the state numbers, union workers are less than half of the workers in the city. When you deduct all the public employees who are unionized, I'm certain that the union workers in Toledo are a small minority of the Toledo workforce.

If Councilman Szollosi really wants to "protect the local workforce," as he stated during the meeting, he'd be as interested in protecting ALL workers and not just a small number of them.

Larry Dillin is ready to start construction on the Marina District and this requirement comes way past the 'last minute.' Dillin says it will kill the project - and he is someone who has used, and continues to use, local union labor on his projects. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says that same thing. And they're right.

Are our elected officials so stuck on stupid that they will finally be able to kill a project that has taken years to actually come to fruition? Can they not stand the thought of actually being successful with something that they must come up with a deal-breaker just before the construction actually begins? Are they that self-destructive or afraid of success that they do not realize the seriously negative impact this will have?

Oh - and according to the Clerk of Council, Council has never passed a deed restriction like this one, so it will be a first, if approved.

But it doesn't just impact the Marina District. It sends a very strong negative message to all businesses in the area - and to those that might be considering starting or re-locating a business here. During my search yesterday for the numbers of union workers in Toledo, I had a discussion with several economic development officials. All of them said that the issue of unions is one of the top five issues business representatives ask about this area. We have a reputation for being a 'strong union town' and many business owners have a concern that they will be targeted for unionization if they come here. Legislation and laws like this one just reinforce that image and drive job providers away.

This ordinance had its first reading last night. It was not referred to committee. It will be on the next council meeting agenda for either a second reading and/or vote.

Call City Council and tell them this is a terrible idea and shouldn't get their support: 419-245-1050.


navyvet said...


Yep...big time.......


The A-Hole Lawyer said...

If prior to this “deed restriction” proposal there was any doubt that Toledo politicians are beholden to labor unions, that doubt is as dead and buried as the marina project.

Don’t think Tetra Tech, or any other potential developer has not seen this attempt to bootstrap unions to Toledo development and decided to move on. If this “restriction” passes, all the union tradesmen who will not be getting job assignments in the future, can thank their union reps for driving work out of Toledo, and likely Lucas County all together.

This is one way to kill the intermodal - Union only!

Brava Frank. Brava.


navyvet said...

I think Frankie needs to be burped!

Carol said...

Assinine. Purely assinine.

It would make more sense to encourage Mr. Dillin to use local businesses in the completion of the Marina District, but it is bizarre to expect that he would concede to a deed restriction requiring use of unionized labor in any and all phases of this project.

Frank needs to stand aside, take his mug out from in front of the camera and shut his trap. He is doing irreparable harm with his grandstanding. Toledo will NEVER progress if his idiocy is allowed to continue.

Robin said...

Short sited. Why would anyone want to invest in Toledo with a stipulation, like that. It is also unfair to non-union workers who are employed in NW Ohio.

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