Labor unions, politicians talk local trade impact in Martins Ferry

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio — Several labor unions met in Belmont County to hear from local politicians and candidates in the upcoming election on Monday.

The main topic was the impact of free trade on local communities resulting in lost jobs and less funding.

"We have too many goods and products coming into the United States, into Ohio and not enough goods and products being made here and shipped abroad," said Tim Burga Ohio AFL-CIO president.

Burga, along with the united steelworkers and mine workers, gathered in Martins Ferry to learn what needs to be done to help trade unions and Ohio Valley communities.

State Representative Jack Cera and Zack Space, the Democratic candidate for state auditor, addressed them.

"These trade deals have caused a lot of people to lose their jobs or force people into jobs that aren't nearly as good paying without the benefits,” Space said.

Space went on to say that 250,000 jobs have been lost. That also impacts revenue in the communities.

"The ability to staff fire and police, ability to fund schools, fix roads, deal with the opioid epidemic, we have all kinds of challenges made worse by policymakers in Columbus,” Space said. “Our general assembly has decided to take more money away from our communities so they can give tax breaks to wealthy Ohioans."

Space is hoping to investigate that and help eastern Ohio as labor unions are seeking change.

"I believe the state of Ohio should have an office that studies this, provides info to the general assembly and the policymakers and do something about it," Space said.

Once again, the general election takes place Nov. 6.

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