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Wind Energy Will Be Built Union

An agreement between NABTU and Ørsted will provide a transition for thousands

Brian Young's picture
Nov 18, 2020

States across the country have begun to institute new rules aimed at lowering their carbon output from energy production. To reach this goal, investments need to made in renewable energy producers like wind and solar. While much of the solar installation is done non-union, a huge new agreement ensures that one of the largest wind producers in the country, the future of energy technology will be built union.

The agreement is between North America's Building and Construction Trades Unions (NABTU) and Ørsted, an international leader in wind technology. The deal sets a model for labor-management cooperation and workforce development in the budding offshore wind industry. Ørsted has a large footprint in the wind industry having been awarded and built offshore wind farms from Maryland to Rhode Island. They have been awarded 2.9GW of power contracts and currently have the largest footprint of any offshore wind developer operating in U.S. waters.

“Ørsted believes the best workers are always the best-trained workers, and we are proud to have earned a strong record of working with skilled union labor to build the country’s first offshore wind farm, the Block Island Wind Farm, where more than 300 union workers were employed,” said David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “We appreciate NABTU’s cooperation and the collaborative approach our union partners have brought to this endeavor and look forward to learning from and working with them on this groundbreaking partnership.”

As a part of the agreement, Ørsted and their partners will work with the building trades to identify the skills needed to build an offshore wind construction workforce. NABTU unions will then begin to incorporate this training into their retraining and apprenticeship programs and ensure there are enough certified union workers to build an offshore wind infrastructure.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the 15 current commercial leases for offshore wind development should create 83,000 jobs, 30 GW of power, and $25 Billion in annual economic output over the next decade.

“Today’s agreement expands career pathways of opportunities for our members to flourish in this transition,” said Sean McGarvey, President of NABTU. “Our highly trained men and women professionals have the best craft skills in the world, and now will gain new experience in deep-water ocean work. Our agreement is based on a successful model developed by the Rhode Island Building Trades for the Block Island Wind Farm project. We commend Ørsted for coming to the table to work in partnership with us and our membership, and we also thank AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler for her help and support throughout the process.”

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