The Columbus Fire Station No. 35 project is small, but its significance makes it one of the most important projects this year for the region’s union construction industry, including Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50.
On Oct. 17, the first City of Columbus project built under a Community Benefits Agreement began.
A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is similar to a Project Labor Agreement, but is a contract between a developer and organization(s) who represent the interests of residents. The agreement spells out the benefits the community will receive in return for supporting the developer’s project in their neighborhood. CBAs often include benefits such as guaranteed minimums for hiring local residents, minorities and women. It could also include language such as the development or improvement of parks or community facilities.
Community Benefits Agreements can help ensure more equitable development, enabling existing residents to benefit from new activity and opportunities in neighborhoods threatened by gentrification and displacement.
In this instance, the CBA will ensure skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen who live in or around Franklin County must complete at least 25 percent of total project work hours. Additionally, Columbus residents must complete 20 percent or more of the total project work hours.
For the members of Insulators Local 50 who work on this project, it will ensure they earn great wages and great benefits as they properly jacket mechanical systems with insulation.
The new 26,750-square-foot fire station will create 50-70 jobs for building trades members, including a few for members of Insulators Local 50.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $12 million due to additional safety features added by the City and an increase in the cost of materials.