City Council to get bill on hiring union workers

March 22, 2010|By Julie Scharper | julie.scharper@baltsun.com

A contentious bill which would give hiring preference to local union employees on city contracts is slated to be introduced at today's City Council meeting.

The measure, which would encourage unions to train and recruit city residents while prohibiting strikes, is sponsored by Councilman Bill Henry at the request of the Get Baltimore Working campaign, a project of the local chapter of the Laborers' International Union.

Henry yanked a similar measure two weeks ago after contractors complained that they already were hiring local residents - just not union members. The revised bill would expire in four years and could only be renewed after the council completes a study and holds hearings on its effectiveness, Henry said.

The bill is fiercely opposed by contractors, who contend it is a thinly disguised union recruiting drive. They say it would encourage the city to hire union-friendly contractors from surrounding jurisdictions, negating the measure's stated purpose.

Henry has recorded an automated call urging support for the measure. A rally, organized by Get Baltimore Working, is planned outside City Hall before the council meeting.

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