News and Analysis
This week, the Ohio Senate voted 21-10 in favor of House amendments to Senate Bill 4, which provides more than $500 million for school construction projects and public works. The House recently amended the bill to expand Ohio’s prevailing wage law by requiring certain public works to pay union-scale wages.
Traditionally, fiscally conservative Republicans have not favored such prevailing wage mandates; however, Statehouse Republicans this week went along with the House language — and some even championed the proposal, reflecting the influence that labor has on some GOP lawmakers. Watch the floor debate starting at the 24:10 mark. 6/25/2020
Digital transformation, or the industrial internet of things (IIoT), is considered vital to the future of manufacturing. In the U.S., IIoT promises to make manufacturers even more competitive globally. Yet digital transformation has been slow in materializing. Based on its work with manufacturers throughout the world, consulting firm McKinsey & Company has identified six myths about IIoT that are needlessly troubling business leaders. 6/23/2020
On June 16, the OMA board met virtually for its third meeting of 2020. Directors were briefed on recent, coronavirus-related legislative activity, as well as executive actions by the DeWine administration affecting Ohio’s manufacturers. Dr. Ned Hill, professor of economics at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs, provided his economic outlook and possible scenarios for recovery.
The board re-elected the following directors to three-year terms:
- Dale Foerster, vice president, Starr Manufacturing, Inc.
- Cathy Lyttle, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Worthington Industries, Inc.
- Frank Mehwald, president & CEO, Atlantic Tool & Die
- Bob Nelson, senior vice president, Honda of American Mfg., Inc.
- Brent Rosebrook, vice president of finance and administration, PRO-TEC Coating Company, LLC
- William Sopko, president, Sopko & Sons Co., Inc.
- Hunter Wright, senior operations engineer, Ariel Corp.
This week’s meeting marked the last for longtime board member Jim Krimmel, president and CEO at Cleveland-based Zaclon LLC. Jim has been an OMA director for more than 27 years. The OMA is grateful for his many years of committed leadership, including his service as chairman of the OMA board. 6/17/2020
This week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Ohio has again become dependent on borrowed federal money to pay for its unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The state has requested $3.1 billion in borrowing authority to provide UI benefits, which are 100% funded — or repaid — by Ohio employers.
For the time being, there is no interest being charged by the federal government, the governor said. But he noted that Ohio has a “long-term structural problem” with its unemployment system — one that needed to be addressed before COVID-19. This story by The Columbus Dispatch provides an overview of the longstanding problem.
As of June 18, Ohio had paid $4.1 billion to more than 700,000 Ohioans since mid-March. It took seven years to pay off the state’s $3.4 billion loan when the fund went broke in 2008. 6/16/2020
Before the Ohio House and Senate adjourned for summer break, lawmakers took steps to address the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) funding woes. Despite some action in both chambers, nothing is headed to the governor’s desk until at least this fall.
As reported last week, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 4 to authorize bonding as an alternative to borrowing from the federal government when Ohio’s UI fund has been exhausted. The OMA is a proponent of the measure, but it may not be taken up in the House as Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) has told reporters that leaders are trying to determine whether this is a change that can be made statutorily — that is, without asking voters.
Also sidelined for the time being is House Bill 614 — which would create a council to review the administration of the UI system — and Senate Bill 282, which would allow employers to report that an applicant for (or a recipient of) UI benefits has failed to meet the non-monetary requirements for benefit eligibility. 6/15/2020
The pandemic has affected every aspect of business, especially supply chains. Knowing how your suppliers have been impacted is important. OMA Connections Partner Clark Schaefer Hackett has created this checklist to help guide your conversations with suppliers. 6/17/2020
Expanded use of automation will make U.S. manufacturing even more competitive, according to Amar Hanspal, CEO of Bright Machines — a San Francisco-based software and robotics company. In his column at Forbes.com, Hanspal says that by some estimates, high levels of automation play a role in only 3% of all goods produced. But COVID-19 is expediting change. According to Thomasnet.com, sourcing for automation equipment has increased 147% year-over-year and is up more than 20% compared to last quarter. 6/15/2020
Reminder: The new edition of Ohio Manufacturing Counts is now available digitally. Share it with employees, students, educators, policymakers and others to ensure that they know the importance of Ohio manufacturing. A special thanks to our sponsors — Constellation, Health Management Solutions and Vistra Energy — that supported the publication. 6/12/2020
Recently, the New York Times interviewed 511 epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists from the U.S. and Canada, asking their opinions on when they expect to resume what used to be typical activities. VisualCapitalist.com turned the Times‘ data into this infographic. Surprisingly, 6% of the surveyed epidemiologists said they do not expect to ever hug or shake hands in the post-pandemic world. More than half said the use of masks will be necessary for at least the next year. 6/20/2020
Ohio’s major business groups — including the OMA — this week endorsed both justices seeking re-election to the Supreme Court of Ohio. Justices Judith French and Sharon Kennedy are both vying for their second six-year term. Although the contests are officially non-partisan, they will determine the Court’s leanings and its impact on Ohio’s business climate. (The OMA PAC endorsed both justices late last year.)
Hannah New Service recently reported that both incumbents have a large cash-on-hand advantage compared to their challengers. Justice French reported having $398,572 on hand, while her opponent, Jennifer Brunner, reported $201,358. Justice Kennedy reported having $629,753 on hand compared to Cuyahoga County Judge John O’Donnell’s $136,020.90. 6/11/2020