Fri. Jul 30th, 2021

Project
labor agreement will create hundreds of family-sustaining union jobs while powering
hundreds of thousands Mass. homes and businesses

 

Joint
efforts between the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council and
Vineyard Wind will further boost recruitment and training opportunities for underserved
communities, including through a $500,000 outreach initiative

 

New
Bedford, MA (July 16, 2021) – Vineyard Wind and
the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council held a signing ceremony to
commemorate the first project labor agreement for an industrial-scale offshore
wind project in the United States. 

 

The roughly 500 family-sustaining
union jobs created through the pact will also help to create a vital,
sustainable energy source that will provide power to more than 400,000 homes
and businesses in Massachusetts, save ratepayers $1.4 billion over the first 20
years of operation and that is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than
1.6 million tons per year, the equivalent of taking 325,000 cars off the road
annually. 

 

“Today’s Project Labor Agreement is a major breakthrough for
climate action, good-paying union jobs, and equity in Massachusetts and
America. We’re at the dawn of a new future – powered by the winds off our
shores and the fierce urgency to combat our climate crisis,” said Senator
Edward J. Markey.

 

“The signing of this PLA is the
culmination of our long-standing promise to the working people of
Massachusetts,” said Vineyard
Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen
.  “We now have an agreement in place that
will make sure local residents on the South Coast, Cape and Islands, can reap
the greatest possible benefit from this new and growing industry. And beyond
that, it’s a commitment to make sure we have a diversified workforce that
represents the communities where we work, so that we can open the doors of
opportunity as wide as possible.”

 

“The signing of this Project
Labor Agreement sets the standard for Off-Shore Wind and other renewable energy
projects across our country. We can Build Back Better with renewable energy AND
create union jobs at the same time,” said Frank Callahan, 
President of Massachusetts Building Trades Council
. “The men and women of
North America’s Building Trades Unions are the best trained, most highly
skilled and most productive workforce in the world. They get the job done right
while earning family-sustaining wages and benefits that provide them a secure
place in America’s middle class.”

 

“We are proud to work with organized labor to make history by
building the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind project, Vineyard Wind
1,” said Dennis V.
Arriola, CEO of AVANGRID
. “The PLA is a triple-win for workers, our
communities and industry and sets a strong precedent as we build the offshore
wind energy infrastructure in the U.S. Investing in the workforce that will
build the clean and connected future creates strong, sustainable communities
and will enable the long-term growth and success of the offshore wind industry
in this country.” 

 

“GE is proud to support our customer, Vineyard Wind, in building
the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in the US,” said John Lavelle, GE Offshore
Wind CEO
.  “The agreement announced today confirms the important role
that the Massachusetts workforce will play in installing those turbines. 
These highly-skilled men and women will be building a cleaner and more
sustainable future for Massachusetts and our nation.  We look forward to
working in partnership with them to install the Haliade-X turbines, the most
powerful offshore wind turbine built to date, in order to create clean,
renewable energy for Massachusetts as part of the energy transition needed to
address climate change.”

 

The Southeastern Massachusetts
Building Trades Council represents thousands of workers throughout the South
Coast, Cape Cod and Islands.

 

Project labor agreements are widely
used in both the private and public sectors to ensure the timely delivery of
high-quality construction projects. Project labor agreements help ensure access
for project managers and developers to the highest-skilled and best-trained
workforces in the region. American construction unions invest more than a
billion dollars in training each year. In Massachusetts, apprentice training
has also been an engine for diversity, equity and inclusion. Massachusetts
building trades union training programs train more than 93% of all women
apprentices and 86% of all apprentices of color in the state.

 

Project labor agreements also
help to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on the jobsite through
investments in recruitment and pre-apprenticeship programs that create career
pathways into the building trades for underserved communities. 

 

Through the agreement between the
unions and Vineyard Wind, $500,000 will be allocated to a special fund designed
to bolster pre-apprenticeship and recruitment programs such as “Building
Pathways South” which will create opportunities for low-income residents,
particularly in underserved communities, to both work on the Vineyard Wind
project and to achieve family-sustaining careers in the union construction
industry.

 

The terms of the agreement will
ensure that a majority of the workforce be from local communities, specifically
from Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, and Dukes Counties, in addition to setting
concrete hiring targets for women and people of color.  

 

Project labor agreements
establish the terms and conditions of employment on projects to ensure workers
and the community benefit from safe, family-sustaining career opportunities in
the construction field.

 

“This project means a lot to me.
I was here in New Bedford last year, working on the renovations to make sure
this pier is stable. The wages and benefits that I receive in my union not only
benefit me but my five-year-old son too,” said Josh Griggsby, a member of
Piledrivers Local 56. 
“The
Vineyard Wind project will give our family a good foundation and help save the
planet.”

 

“Using a project labor agreement
to construct the country’s first industrial-scale offshore wind farm guarantees
union protections for workers on this project, the work stays local, and the
workers represent the diverse communities they come from,” said Kristin Wozniak, a member of
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 223. 
“The Vineyard Wind project
puts workers like me at the forefront of the battle against climate change
where our skills are needed most.”

 

Through this agreement, Vineyard
Wind has also pledged to appoint an Accountability Officer to facilitate an
Access and Opportunity Committee and to ensure that contractors are meeting
hiring requirements in addition to promoting an inclusive workplace. 

  

“The historic
signing of the nation’s first PLA for the offshore wind industry and the
Vineyard Wind project are critical to our efforts to combat climate change,
generate clean power, and boost our economy,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“It takes highly skilled workers to build these large projects and communities
across the South Coast have the brain and muscle power to make it happen. The
partnership between Vineyard Wind and Southeastern Massachusetts Building
Trades is not only creating good paying union jobs – it is creating careers and
a pathway for local workers to become part of a thriving union construction
industry.”

 

“Like the Industrial Revolution long ago, today we are cementing
the start of a Clean Energy Revolution and celebrating the workers who will
move us into the future,” said Congressman
Bill Keating
, who represents New Bedford and Martha’s Vineyard and is also
the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairman on Energy. “There is a lot of talk
every day about the threat of climate change, but today is a day of action not
words. And today’s action will directly translate into good paying jobs for our
region. With this labor agreement, we further solidify Southeastern 

 

“Offshore winds represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to
meet our clean energy and climate goals while unlocking new opportunities for
job creation and economic development in Massachusetts, especially the South
Coast region,” said Massachusetts
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides
. “The
Baker-Polito Administration is focused on ensuring Massachusetts’ workforce is
trained and ready to help us build this clean energy future, and Governor Baker’s
ARPA proposal to invest $100 million in port infrastructure is critical to
ensuring the Commonwealth capitalizes on the economic potential of this
emerging industry.” 

 

“Today’s signing kicks off the construction of the Vineyard Wind
project, which will move Massachusetts closer to achieving the offshore wind
energy and emissions reduction goals that have been continuously laid out by
the Legislature,” said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano. “In
addition to powering thousands of homes with clean energy, this project will
create hundreds of good union jobs for Massachusetts residents. The Legislature
was proud to recently include a $13 million investment in our FY22 budget to
train the workforce that will power offshore wind energy industry.” 

 

“For the last decade, New Bedford has strived to position itself
as a leader in the offshore wind industry so that we can create opportunity for
the residents of our region. With the firm support of the Biden Administration,
the PLA announced today does just that. It will create a pathway to the middle
class by helping to establish solid union jobs, right here in our city,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon
Mitchell

 

Massachusetts as the hub of clean energy technology and the
emerging blue economy. I look forward to working with everyone here today to
keep up this progress.”

 

The PLA signing ceremony was held
at the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford. The turbines will be dispatched
from that Terminal for installation by the building trades union members.

 

Since 2017, the Vineyard Wind 1
project has been through an unprecedented and extensive public review process
that generated more than 30,000 public comments, more than 90% of which
supported the project.  

 

The Construction and Operations
Plan (COP) was reviewed by more than two dozen federal, state, and local
agencies over the course of more than three and a half years. 

 

Vineyard Wind 1 is an 800 MW
project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and will be the
first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the United States.  The
project will generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and will create 3,600 Full-Time Equivalent
(FTE) job-years over the life of the project in various disciplines and
industries, including the more than 500 union construction jobs covered by the
recently announced pact.

 

Vineyard Wind will reach a
financial close in the second half of 2021 and begin delivering clean energy to
Massachusetts in 2023.