As we wrap up 2021, I want to thank the men and women who have continued to go to work on construction jobsites every day throughout the ongoing pandemic. Without your dedication, this could have been a doomed year for our city and state economies. I can say that Ohio is going strong, with cranes dotting the skylines and high demand for union construction workers. This is a testament to you, Ohio’s Building Tradespeople, and the work you do every day.

This year, our Council marked its 55th anniversary. We convened our Constitutional Convention, and I thank our delegates for reelecting myself, President Mark Douglas, and our Executive Board to continue representing you at the state level.

This year brought some fights that felt personal to me. As a plumber-pipefitter from Lima, Ohio, I’ve fought to support Lima and Toledo tradespeople as refinery owners outsource skilled Ohio construction maintenance turnarounds to unskilled out-of-state workers.

One of my favorite books is Rust Belt Resistance: How a Small Community Took on Big Oil and Won. It tells the story of how Lima’s workers, with the support of their local leaders and the community, rose up in 1996 to stop BP from demolishing the Lima Refinery. Had BP closed the Lima Refinery in the late ‘90s, it would have destroyed one of Ohio’s last remaining industrial cities.

“Nobody was defending us except ourselves,” outgoing Lima Mayor David Berger is quoted in the book about that fight with BP. Back then, as now, when we stand together in solidarity, we can protect our lives and livelihoods against corporate greed.

As we look to a busy 2022, the Ohio Building Trades Council will continue to support the organizing, training, and business development happening every day in Ohio’s Regional Building Trades Councils, local unions, JATCs, and among our rank-and-file members. I wish you and your families a happy healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year.

– Mike Knisley
Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council