Vineyard Wind Signs Labor Union
Vineyard wind on Friday announced a deal to use union labor to help build what will become the country’s first major offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts near Martha’s Vineyard.
The labor agreement with the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council covers 500 jobs, most of which will go to local workers, the company said in a statement. It also includes hiring goals for women and people of color.
The pact is the first in the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry and comes as President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has pledged his clean energy and climate change agenda will create millions of well-paying union jobs.
The Biden administration approved the Vineyard Wind project in May, touting it as the start of a new domestic energy industry that will help eliminate emissions from the electricity sector.
Dennis Arriola, managing director of Avangrid, which is co-developing Vineyard Wind with Danish infrastructure partners Copenhagen, said in a statement that the deal “sets a strong precedent” in the new US industry.
The building council represents thousands of workers from the south coast of Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands. The project’s turbines, which will be located 24 km off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, will leave the mainland from the port city of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
For the first few years at least, most manufacturing jobs in the US offshore wind industry will be in Europe.
The Vineyard Wind project aims to create enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in New England. The project will start supplying electricity to the grid in the second half of 2023 and initial construction could start as early as this year.
The project is expected to eventually create 3,600 full-time jobs over its lifetime.
“The use of a labor agreement for the construction of the country’s first industrial-scale offshore wind farm guarantees union protection for the workers on this project, the work remains local and the workers represent the various communities from which they come”, Kristin Wozniak, member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 223, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)