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Aug
2014
19

IBEW Pres., Building Trades Head Give Nuclear Council a Workforce Development Boost

Sean McGarvey

Sean McGarvey




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The bipartisan campaign Nuclear Matters, which focuses on spreading the word about the benefits of America’s nuclear power plants, has added International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) President Edwin Hill and North American Building and Construction Trades head Sean McGarvey to its leadership council.  In adding the two leaders the group gains a pair of labor perspectives on the economic benefits of nuclear power plants.  

Other members of the leadership council include co-chairs and former Senators Judd Gregg and Evan Bayh.

In a statement announcing the decision, McGarvey said:

“As president of North America’s Building Trade Unions, I am cognizant of how important the nuclear industry is to the employment and economic security of trade workers in the United States.  I look forward to working alongside the leadership of Nuclear Matters to ensure that our existing nuclear energy plants, and the jobs they provide, are preserved in the midst of a rapidly changing, energy-conscious world.”

Hill added:

“Our nation has paid a heavy price through the loss of entire industries and the kinds of jobs that sustain the middle class.  We cannot afford to let this happen with the nuclear industry,” said Hill.  “Nuclear plants account for 100,000 direct positions, most of them requiring a high level of skill.  Preserving them will protect the families of tens of thousands of working Americans and help ensure the reliability of our power system,”

According to Nuclear Matters, the average American nuclear power plant generates 500-700 jobs which pay an average of 36 percent higher than the average local wage.  Nuclear power plants support over 100,000 permanent jobs across the country and thousands of associated maintenance and refueling jobs.  Given that over one third of the nuclear power workforce is eligible to retire by 2016, a new wave of workers is needed to maintain these plants.  Hill and McGarvey’s presence is especially important considering union workers average 20 million man hours each year due to outages for refueling.  In 2013 alone, 21 maintenance and refueling outages occurred with each employing nearly 1,000 workers.  

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