The Stand

Laborers at wind farm hearing: Green jobs must be good jobs

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The following is from the Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers:

CHEHALIS, Wash. (June 12, 2019) — More than 70 members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) attended the Shoreline permit hearing held Tuesday for Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Americas Inc.’s bid on the Skookumchuck wind farm project. With up to 300 local jobs at stake and RES’ history of bringing workers from out-of-state with pay below area standards and no benefits, LIUNA came out in full force in opposition of RES Americas Inc. being approved for this $235 million project.

RES has said it would hire half of its construction workers (peak 300 workers) locally. But an example of their failure to do so can be seen on their recent wind turbine project in Oregon. The Skookumchuck wind farm project would specifically provide power to Puget Sound Energy’s government and large corporate customers who signed up for the Green Direct. Some of these customers include King County, Washington State Capital Campus, Port of Seattle and Sound Transit.

“We are in full support of green new jobs,” said Jermaine Smiley, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers. “The governor has committed that these green jobs will be family-wage jobs with benefits. We hope this project is not an example of what he meant by green new jobs. Our members and residents of Washington state deserve a better partner than PSE/RES.”

The Laborers Union (LIUNA), as a representative of hardworking, community-oriented, local men and women, have asked Gov. Jay Inslee to speak out against the approval of the Shoreline permit that PSE and RES Americas Inc. need to approve in order for the project to move forward.

The Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers represents eight LIUNA locals across this region with more than 10,000 active and retired members. Most people associate the Laborers Union with the commercial construction field. While Construction Craft Laborers comprise the majority of our membership, the Laborers Union and the District Council also represent a wide variety of industry sectors including commercial construction, health care, public employees, resort and maintenance and public schools.

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