Economic Development

Trumbull Commissioners to Focus on Local Labor for TJX

WARREN, Ohio – Trumbull County Commissioners will meet Wednesday morning with local labor leaders and elected officials to discuss the use of the local workforce on construction for TJX Companies Inc.’s distribution center in Lordstown, as well as efforts to ensure local construction workers are used in future projects.

Absent from the meeting will be representatives of TJX, despite an advisory from the commissioners office Tuesday morning stating that they would be in attendance.

“Representatives from TJX spoke with members of the Trumbull County Commissioners Office today and reiterated our position that we have been committed to the use of local contractors for the majority of the work, and that has not changed,” TJX spokesman Andrew Mastrangelo said in an email Tuesday. “As such, we will not be in attendance at the Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday.”

Commissioner Dan Polivka, who arranged the meeting in recent days, confirmed Tuesday afternoon that inclusion of TJX representatives in the release as attending the meeting was in error. It was meant to state that the meeting – set for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday – was simply regarding TJX.

Expected to attend the meeting are state representatives and a representative from the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, which has worked with TJX for more than three years on the regional distribution center for the company’s HomeGoods brand.

Polivka said he had hoped a representative would be able to attend but acknowledged the difficulty involved with the Independence Day holiday. He spoke Tuesday with Mark Walker, senior vice president of real estate for HomeGoods, who he said was sympathetic to local concerns and offered assurances that the company will do everything it can to utilize local workers.

The company already has kept its word in terms of acting on its pledge to place part of the nearly 300-acre parcel where it plans to build the 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse into a conservation easement and to donate money to the Lordstown Local School District, he said.

“He gave some pretty strong commitments. Now it’s just a matter of them delivering on it,” Polivka said.  

TJX officials “have been consistent” in the message they would endeavor to hire local workers, said Marty Loney, business agent for Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396.   

Loney said he spoke Friday with representatives of Catamount Constructors Inc., the general contractor TJX enlisted for the project. “They’re still going through some numbers with some of the bids on all the packages,” he said.

TJX will open bids July 9 for the structural iron package, Polivka said. After that, it will seek bids for the electrical work. Catamount “is only the management group,” he said.

Wednesday’s meeting is meant to be “proactive rather than reactive, try to cover everything and proceed forward” Polivka said. The discussion will cover language that can be used in incentive agreements to promote the employment of local workers in construction. The commissioners earlier this year granted a 10-year, 75% tax abatement for the project. 

“We want to try to get everybody on the same page and speak with one voice,” Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said.

TJX representatives potentially could participate in the meeting via conference call, but commissioners would like to eventually schedule and in-person meeting with them, Polivka said. 

File photo: Site preparation is underway at TJX’s distribution center in Lordstown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.